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Good and bad things seem to be coming in threes for Kinsey Millhone: on her thirty-third birthday she moves back into her renovated apartment, gets hired to find an elderly lady supposedly living in the Mojave Desert by herself, and makes the top of ex-con Tyrone Patty’s hit list. It’s the last that convinces Kinsey even she can’t handle whoever’s been hired to whack her, and she gets herself a bodyguard: Robert Dietz, a Porsche-driving P.I. who takes guarding Kinsey’s body very seriously. With Dietz watching her for the merest sign of her usual recklessness, Kinsey plunges into her case. And before it’s over, she’ll unearth the gruesome truth about a long-buried betrayal and, in the process, come fact-to-face with her own mortality….
Beverly Danziger looked like an expensive, carefully wrapped package from a good but conservative shop. Only her compulsive chatter hinted at the nervousness beneath her cool surface. It was a nervousness out of all proportion to the problem she placed before Kinsey Millhone. There was an absent sister. A will to be settled—a matter of only a few thousand dollars. Mrs. Danziger did not look as if she needed a few thousand dollars. And she didn’t seem like someone longing for a family reunion.
Still, business was slow, and even a private investigator has bills to pay. Millhone took the job. It looked routine.
Elaine Boldt’s wrappings were a good deal flashier than her sister’s, but they signaled the same thing: The lady had money. A rich widow in her early forties, she owned a condo in Boca Raton and another in Santa Teresa. According to the manager of the California building, she was last seen draped in her $12,000 lynx coat heading for Boca Raton. According to the manager of…[more]
Lorna Kepler was beautiful and willful, a loner who couldn’t resist flirting with danger. Maybe that’s what killed her.
Her death had raised a host of tough questions. The cops suspected homicide, but they could find neither motive nor suspect. Even the means were mysterious: Lorna’s body was so badly decomposed when it was discovered that they couldn’t be certain she hadn’t died of natural causes. In the way of overworked cops everywhere, the case was gradually shifted to the back burner and became another unsolved file.
Only Lorna’s mother kept it alive, consumed by the certainty that somebody out there had gotten away with murder.
In the ten months since her daughter’s death, Janice Kepler had joined a support group, trying to come to terms with…[more]
He was young-maybe twenty or so-and he must once have been a good-looking kid. Kinsey could see that. But now his body was covered in scars, his face half-collapsed. It saddened Kinsey and made her curious. She could see he was in a lot of pain. But for three weeks, as Kinsey’d watched him him doggedly working out at the local gym, putting himself through a grueling exercise routine, he never spoke.
Then one Monday morning when there was no one else in the gym, Bobby Callahan approached her. His story was hard to credit: a murderous assault by a tailgating car on a lonely rural road, a roadside smash into a canyon 400 feet below, his Porsche a bare ruin, his best friend dead. The doctors had managed to put his body back together again-sort of. His mother’s money had seen to that. What they couldn’t fix was his mind, couldn’t restore the huge chunks of memory wiped out by the crash. Bobby knew…[more]
Writing mystery fiction can be a special kind of puzzle. In this new, revised edition of the Mystery Writers of America classic, Sue Grafton weaves the experience of today’s top mystery authors into a comprehensive mystery writing “how-to.” Writers will learn how to piece a perfect mystery together and create realistic stories that are taut, immediate and fraught with tension.
The book’s contributors include a “who’s who” of the mystery writing elite: Faye and Jonathan Kellerman on conducting accurate research; Michael Connelly on mastering characterization; Tony Hillerman on writing without an outline; Lawrence Block on overcoming writer’s block; Sara Paretsky on creating successful series characters; Tess Gerritson on writing the medical thriller; Ann Rule on the art of writing true crime. And many more!