Book Review: A Is For Alibi

By: Matthew Hunter

Are you getting tired of reading boring old biology textbooks or mind-numbing computer science books that ultimately end up making you feel more confused than helped? If you answered yes (or even no), then I may have just what you’re looking for: a murder-mystery novel. A Is For Alibi, to be specific. The book is fast-paced, very interesting, and it will keep you guessing at every turn. Reading this book is a great way for you to relieve yourself of the ever-increasing stresses of college life. You will be surprised how quickly you flip through the pages in a half-hour’s time.

The novel, published in 1982, is the first in a series known as the “Alphabet Mystery” series written by New York Times bestselling author Sue Grafton. The series focuses on the character of Kinsey Millhone, a former police detective who now works as a freelance private investigator in the fictional city of Santa Teresa, California. The book is told from Kinsey’s perspective, and on the very first page of the book, she tells the reader a very intriguing confession that is bound to raise your eyebrows in surprise and curiosity.

The story itself begins when Kinsey is hired by a young widow convicted of murdering Laurence Fife, her lawyer husband, eight years prior. Having been released from prison, the widow tasks Kinsey with finding out who really killed her husband and left her to take the blame. Kinsey accepts the job and starts by looking into the death of the husband, who died from ingesting oleander (a toxic plant) after mistaking it for his medication. She is only ankle-deep into her investigation when she discovers that an accountant that worked for Fife’s law firm was murdered with oleander just four days after Fife.

With a second body connected to Fife’s murder and facing the possibility of a cover-up, Kinsey realizes that she’s going to need some help in her investigation. To that end, she goes to Lieutenant Con Dolan of the Santa Teresa PD. An old acquaintance of hers, Dolan has a certain respect for Kinsey and the work she does, and has helped her in previous investigations. Dolan nonetheless gives Kinsey a hard time and makes her work hard to earn his respect.

But even with Lieutenant Dolan’s respect and assistance, Kinsey must use her keen intellect and her sharp investigative skill to discover who is really behind the murders. It’s a dangerous job for Kinsey, especially when the murderer discovers she’s hot on the trail, sending the guilty party on a murderous rampage to cover up the remaining clues and stop her from figuring the truth.

A Is For Alibi is a great way to escape the hectic life of college and enter the world of detective fiction set in the time of the 1980s. Sue Grafton did well in constructing a complex story that will have you on the edge of your seat and madly turning page after page to see what really happened and find out who is the murderer. Who is the murderer? Read the book and find out. I assure you that you won’t regret it.



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