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Kinsey and Me Hardcover – January 8, 2013


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Marian Wood Books; First Edition edition (July 24, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399163838
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399163838
  • ASIN: 0399163832
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.1 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (371 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #402,883 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* What could be better, while waiting for the twenty-third mystery in Grafton’s alphabet series, than this revelatory collection of stories featuring both Grafton’s alter ego, PI Kinsey Millhone, and the author herself? The volume includes 9 stories with Kinsey as protagonist (8 were published in 1991 in a very limited edition for family and friends); 13 short-short stories about Kit Blue, a younger version of Grafton; an introduction; and an essay, which bridges the two sections of the book, about the development of the private-eye mystery. In the Kit Blue stories, Grafton lays bare the pain of growing up with an alcoholic mother who died too young of cancer yet also credits her mystery writer and lawyer father (also alcoholic) and mystery-reading mother for making her the writer she became. Readers are likely to revel most in the wonderfully concise Kinsey stories, 2 of which, The Parker Shotgun and A Poison That Leaves No Trace, are award winners. Also especially intriguing are The Lying Game, written for Land’s End’s fortieth anniversary catalog in 2003, and Falling off the Roof, in which members of a mystery book club take their passion for murder beyond the printed page. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: To whet fans’ appetites for W Is for . . . , the Kinsey Millhone mystery coming in 2013, Grafton offers a selection of Millhone and Kit Blue short stories. Kinsey fanatics, sensing the coming end of the landmark series, will be thrilled to read this nonalphabetic extra. --Michele Leber

Review

Praise for KINSEY AND ME
 
“Brutally honest, emotionally powerful, ‘Kinsey and Me’ is a revelatory triumph, a dance often macabre, but also a dance of celebration choreographed by a writer whose contemplations on justice never fail to offer rich rewards for legions of readers.”—Richmond Times-Dispatch
 
“[An] alternately hilarious and pitch-dark new collection . . . The Millhone pieces are sparkling little gems in which the more leisurely pace of the novels is compressed into a mere 20 pages or so; that Kinsey manages to introduce herself, establish the mystery and then solve it, credibly, in such a small span of time and space is nothing short of miraculous. The odd thing is that we don't feel slighted by the relative brevity of plot or even characterization; Grafton is a master of the quick, economical bit of detail, the phrase that tells (or, better, implies) everything. . . The Kit Blue stories are the book's dark heart, its bitter aftertaste, and may come as a grim surprise to many of the author's fans, whose impression of her is of a cheerful, indomitable woman more like the wisecracking Kinsey than the haunted Kit. Of course she is both, and she shares them with us here, bravely, in equal measure. Lucky us.”—Chicago Tribune
 
“Sue Grafton’s most insightful and revealing book to date is arguably ‘Kinsey and Me,’ . . . The catharsis of ‘Kinsey and Me’ is Grafton’s gift to her readers, who see that she is Kit Blue and Kinsey Milhone as well as a writer who, in creating both characters, has accepted and also transcended herself.  In identifying with Kit and Kinsey and Sue Grafton too, readers can better negotiate their own imperfect lives with humor and courage and strength.”—The Courier-Journal
 
"Terrific . . . The Kinsey stories and the Kit stories together open a window into Grafton's soul."—USA Today
 
“What could be better, while waiting for the twenty-third mystery in Grafton’s alphabet series, than this revelatory collection of stories featuring both Grafton’s alter ego, PI Kinsey Millhone, and the author herself? . . . Kinsey fanatics, sensing the coming end of the landmark series, will be thrilled to read this nonalphabetic extra.”—Booklist (starred review)
 
“Provides moving and surprising insights into the woman behind the bestsellers…fans will admire Grafton’s impressive output and feisty fictional detective all the more knowing the challenging beginnings from which both grew.”—Publishers Weekly
 
“Piercingly sensitive.”—Kirkus
 
"It's a pleasure just to be in Kinsey's company as she refreshes the formula conventions with her snappy wit and candid opinions."—Marilyn Stasio, The New York Times Book Review

Customer Reviews

I usually pass along the books I read but I kept this one.
Barbara L. Keller
The short stories were just that - some a little too short for my taste.
Pat OGrady
The stories are short, well plotted, great characterization.
Alan B. Weaver

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

113 of 118 people found the following review helpful By Jill Meyer TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 8, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Sue Grafton, author of those A to V Kinsey Milhone mysteries, is out with a new book. And it's sort of a hybrid, and like nothing I've ever read. "Kinsey and Me" is actually two books, with an entre'act in between. The first part are short stories about Kinsey that Grafton had dashed off in the 1980's and a little later. If you are old enough to remember the Ellery Queen magazines of short mysteries, these stories are a lot like those. Not much substance - how much plot can you put into 15 pages? - but Grafton's characters with finely drawn personas are there. Grafton has a way with writing that gives even her stock characters nuanced portrayals. (One of the stories, the last one, was written to be published in a "Land's End" catalog - hey, I assume she was paid for it - and they got their money's worth from her product placement.)

I'm not an enthusiastic short story reader - though I've been reading them more lately - and I don't think these stories are in any way comparable to Grafton's books. They're fun to read and you might learn a bit more about Kinsey Milhone and Santa Teresa and her milieu. It will certainly help ease the days til her next book, which is "W is for something or the other".

However, any long-time reader of the Kinsey Milhone books has to be interested in Kinsey's back story. Reared by an aunt after the death of her parents in a car crash she survived, Kinsey didn't have much of a family life. She was given a little life-guidance by her aunt, but basically Kinsey raised herself, under her aunt's protection. In Grafton's book, she writes about her own family. She was the daughter of two alcoholics and her mother was a recluse who died of drink and smoking and esophageal cancer when Sue was about 20 and had already left home to an early marriage and baby.
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55 of 57 people found the following review helpful By takingadayoff TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 8, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
This is a surprising collection of stories.

First, I was surprised how well the Kinsey Millhone short mysteries stand up after over two decades. Each story is self-contained, requiring no previous familiarity with Private Investigator Kinsey Millhone. With only a few characters per story, there are necessarily few suspects, yet each story kept me guessing to the end. They originally appeared in magazines and mystery anthologies in the late 80s and early 90s and are collected here for the first time.

The second part of the book is a collection of previously unpublished short stories that are taken from Sue Grafton's own life and relationship with her alcoholic parents. These are more personal, although still written as fiction, and quite dark. Grafton manages to keep the stories taut and avoids self-pity. Despite these pluses, I still found the stories too depressing and didn't read them all.

While I can't speak for the literary merit of the semi-biographical stories, I suspect they would only be of interest to those who are curious about Sue Grafton as a writer. As for the mysteries, which take up a little over half the book, an aspiring writer would do well to study them -- Grafton gets right to the point, draws you into the action in a few sentences and doesn't indulge in flowery descriptions.

If you are reluctant to hit the buy button, try the Kinsey and Me Free Preview. It contains a complete Kinsey Millhone story, some words from Grafton, and a complete non-Kinsey story. It's quite representative of the book and better than the usual kindle sample that just gives you the first few pages.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Laurel-Rain Snow TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 25, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
For readers who have followed the Sue Grafton Alphabet Mystery series, Kinsey Millhone is a familiar character. Almost like someone from our own lives--albeit our lives in the eighties, the decade that has become the signature era for the character. A time before technology had advanced and when the Internet was still in the distant future. Kinsey's style was born from pages of gritty detectives searching for clues the old-fashioned way.

Kinsey and Me: Stories is a closer look into the character and the author. In the first section, we enjoy several short stories featuring Kinsey with her trademark tough girl persona and her ability to "lie" and follow the clues with diligence.

In the second half, Grafton takes us into her own life in the ten years following her mother's death. She writes: "At the remove of some fifty years, I still find myself reluctant to lift the veil on a period of my life that was chaotic and confused. Looking back, I can see that I was rudderless and floundering, that in attempting to save myself, I hurt others...."

In the introduction to the final section, she says that "Kinsey Millhone is the person I might have been had I not married young and had children. She is more than that. She is a stripped-down version of my 'self'--my shadow, my projection--a celebration of my own freedom, independence, and courage."

With Kinsey Millhone as her alter ego, Grafton describes Kit Blue, featured in the final stories, as a younger version of herself. In Kit Blue, we see the pain of the lost child whose parents dived into their bottles and abdicated their roles as parents.
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More About the Author

New York Times-bestselling author Sue Grafton is published in twenty-eight countries and twenty-six languages--including Estonian, Bulgarian, and Indonesian. Books in her alphabet series, begun in 1982, are international bestsellers with readership in the millions. And like Raymond Chandler and Ross Macdonald, Grafton has earned new respect for the mystery form. Readers appreciate her buoyant style, her eye for detail, her deft hand with character, her acute social observances, and her abundant storytelling prowess. She has been named a Grand Master by the Mystery Writers of America (2009) and is a recipient of the Ross Macdonald Literary Award (2004).

Sue Grafton has been married to Steve Humphrey for more than thirty years, and they divide their time between Montecito, California, and Louisville, Kentucky, where she was born and raised. Grafton, who has three children and four grandchildren, loves cats, gardens, and good cuisine.

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