Sue Grafton, S is for Silence (2005)

In the 19th volume about the American private eye Kinsey Millhone, she accepts a very cold case.

The somewhat wild wife and mother Violet Sullivan left her home in California in 1953 on the forth of July to watch the fireworks. But neither Violet nor her brand-new, flashy Chevrolet returns. After more than thirty years of uncertainty, Violet´s daughter Daisy is desperate to know what happened so she can get on with her own life.

In Kinsey´s world, we have reached 1987, and for the rest of the book we follow her investigation of Violet´s disappearance. In between we get chapters from 1953, letting us see what happened in the days leading up to this event through the eyes of all the characters surrounding Violet. In this way we see several facets of the central character and the good and upright citizens of Serena Station, California.

An interesting structure, and Grafton handles both ends of the story very well, leaving you with a strong feeling of having been there, back in a time when women were supposed to be proper mothers and homemakers, good examples for their daughters and perhaps even put up with a beating now and then when they had strayed off the straight and narrow.

Terrific characters and a perfect, traditional private detective mystery. I bought the book myself.

About Dorte Hummelshøj Jakobsen

I am a Danish teacher. In my spare time I read, write and review crime fiction.
This entry was posted in American, review, review 2011, Sue Grafton. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Sue Grafton, S is for Silence (2005)

  1. Margot Kinberg says:

    Dorte – A fine review – thanks. I like it when an author weaves two different timelines together successfully like that. Sometimes it doesn’t work, but when it does work, it’s a really interesting way to look at the same crime from two different angles. And of course, Grafton and Kinsey Millhone are both terrific :-).

  2. Barbara says:

    As you probably already know, Dorte, Kinsey Millhone is a special favorite of mine. I like that she’s down to earth, has the good sense to be afraid sometimes, and isn’t perfect. I’m dreading the day when Grafton gets to the end of the alphabet since that will most likely end this series.

  3. Kelly says:

    I really enjoy this series and, after a bit of a slump in the middle of the alphabet, I think her most recent titles – including this one – have been excellent.

    Very good review!

  4. Bill Selnes says:

    Dorte: I thought “S” was a good book but found it did not have much involvement in Kinsey’s life and her interaction with her friends. I missed the personal. I have read all her books up to “T”. I expect to get “U” read this year.

  5. Norm/Uriah says:

    Bill I am sure will like U which I read earlier in the year. Thanks Dorte for reminding me what a consistently good series Sue Grafton has written.

  6. Maxine says:

    I too like this series a lot, having read it since the first one was published. I don’t think S is the strongest, I think her latest one (I think U?) was better than they’ve been for a while.

  7. Thank you for your comments. Have been busy as an external examiner for two days.

    Bill and Maxine: you may be right this is not her best story, but I have not read any of her books for a couple of years so I just enjoyed plunging into Kinsey´s world again. It is a fine way to escape from exams, I can assure you.

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