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"P" is for Peril (A Kinsey Millhone Mystery, Book 16) Mass Market Paperback – May 28, 2002


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"P" is for Peril (A Kinsey Millhone Mystery, Book 16) + O Is for Outlaw (Kinsey Millhone Mysteries) + "Q" is for Quarry (A Kinsey Millhone Mystery, Book 17)
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

When Dowan Purcell, a respected physician who operates a nursing home, disappears, his ex-wife hires Santa Teresa PI Kinsey Millhone to look into it. Fiona Purcell is still seething over Dow's affair and subsequent marriage to Crystal, a former stripper, yet they're still friends, and she seems worried. But when his body is discovered, she's among the suspects. Both of Dow's wives, at least one of his business partners, and perhaps even Crystal's teenage daughter had motives to kill.

While in her most recent adventures (N Is for Noose, O Is for Outlaw) Kinsey has acquired new digs, an extended family, and a few more gray hairs, in this one (which takes place some time in the mid-'80s), she's 36, still living in the remodeled garage that was blown up in an earlier novel. Easier than a facelift, and while Sue Grafton is a solid enough writer to pull it off, dedicated Kinsey fans will miss the more complex and multidimensional character who aged so ruefully and interestingly in the '90s. This isn't Grafton's strongest case; it's hard to care about any of Purcell's women or his associates. More exciting is the secondary plot, which involves a handsome landlord who offers Kinsey the new office space she's been seeking and turns out to be a lot more trouble than she bargained for. Despite its somewhat plodding pace and the echo of a more evolved heroine that rings through its pages, Grafton's many fans will probably shoot P Is for Peril right to the top of the bestseller list. --Jane Adams --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

PI Kinsey Millhone's trademark dry sense of humor is largely absent in the first half of the 15th book in this justifiably popular series, though it resurfaces as the suspense finally begins to build in the second half. In the bleak November of 1986, Kinsey looks into the disappearance of Dr. Dowan Purcell, who's been missing for nine weeks. Dr. Purcell is an elderly physician who runs a nursing home that's being investigated for Medicare fraud. His ex-wife, Fiona, hires Kinsey when it seems as though the police have given up on the search. Fiona thinks that he could be simply hiding out somewhere, especially since he's pulled a disappearance stunt twice before. However, Purcell's current wife, Crystal, believes that he may be dead. Kinsey is dubious about finding any new leads after so much time has elapsed. She's also worried about having to move out of the office space she now occupies in the suite owned by her lawyer, and between her interviews with suspects she tries to rent a new office from a pair of brothers whose mysterious background begins to make her suspicious. Grafton's Santa Teresa seems more like Ross Macdonald's town of the same name than ever before, with dysfunctional families everywhere jostling for the private eye's attention. The novel has a hard-edged, wintry ambience, echoed in Fiona Purcell's obsession with angular art deco furniture and architecture. Unfortunately, Grafton's evocation of the noir crime novels and styles of the 1940s, although atmospheric, doesn't make up for a lack of suspense and lackluster characters. (June 4)Forecast: With a 600,000-copy first printing and a national author tour, this Literary Guild Main Selection is sure to shoot well up the bestseller lists.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books; 1st edition (May 28, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0449003795
  • ISBN-13: 978-0449003794
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (435 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #89,369 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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.

Customer Reviews

3.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

51 of 54 people found the following review helpful By Mary Ann Hofmann on August 2, 2001
Format: Audio Cassette
I am an avid Kinsey Millhone fan, and was anxious to get my hands on this lastest installment to the series. However, I found this one very disappointing. The plot was an overly used one with characters that weren't developed or explained thoroughly enough. Throughout the book, I kept waiting to find out why things that had been emphasized were key to the story, but it just never happened.
I thought the subplot with the two brothers had much more potential. Developing that storyline would have been far more interesting.
The old Kinsey just didn't quite come through here. She didn't have that edge that makes her so interesting. I've always enjoyed the way she thinks and operates. This seemed to be just a shadow of her former self.
I was willing to forgive all of this just because I do adore the series, but I was left cold with the ending. Grafton has always been a master at pulling it together in a way that even if she hadn't thoroughly spelled out the way things were, there wasn't any confusion as to what happened. That was not the case here. I read the last 25 pages twice to see if I missed something, but I have more questions than is comfortable for a mystery novel. There was just too much left unsaid and unexplained which I found extremely frustrating.
By far, my least favorite.
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37 of 38 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 8, 2001
Format: Hardcover
I've read every one of Sue Grafton's alphabet series. P is for Peril is up to her standards in every way but one - the ending. Each book in the series ends with an epilogue that wraps up the loose ends - each book but this one. When I finished, I looked for the epilogue to clarify the central question: Who did it and why? I then re-read parts of the story looking for additional clues. The problem is, I can come up with a number of different answers to the central question. Did Ms. Grafton want to keep us guessing? Am I missing something? What's up?
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Mark M. Thomase on June 14, 2001
Format: Hardcover
While Sue Grafton's writing style sparkles, as usual, with wit and vivid description, I couldn't help but think that the author should have kept on writing until she actually finished the book. The book contains a plot and a major subplot, and neither one is brought to a satisfactory resolution. Questions remain unanswered, loose ends are not entirely tied up. In fact it occured to me, some time after I read the final page, that heroine Kinsey Millhone had not actually told us the identity of the killer or the motive! Perhaps Grafton is being avant-garde; like many of her other fans, though, I would have appreciated a closing note "Respectfully submitted."
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 25, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I have read all of Sue Grafton's Kinsey Milhone books and, in spite of what I am about to say in this review, I will continue to read them through to 'Z' if they go that far (I just will not be buying hardbacks for the foreseeable future). Generally, I have enjoyed Grafton's writing style; her places, scenes and people are so alive, most especially Kinsey who is so well drawn that I find my self thinking of her as real.
So it was with great anticipation that on June 4 of last year - on my way to the airport and vacation - I was at the bookstore when it opened for business. I was lucky enough to get a signed copy, my first Grafton hardback. The read I had so looked forward to while sitting on the beach was a huge disappointment.
This book is a dud. It lacks memorable plot, interesting people, or character development; it is poorly written and boring. I barely got through it and kept putting it aside for other reading matter.
Peril has two main stories, one with many branches, one more straightforward. The latter is more typical of Grafton/Milhone and is the more interesting but plays a much smaller part. The main plot is filled with serendipity, red herrings, and dead ends. Neither were as good as plots from past works such as Lawless and Killer.
I do not actually read Grafton's books for the plots: I enjoy them as I go along, I expect them to be interesting enough to maintain my curiosity, and five minutes later I have forgotten them. I read mostly for character development, for snappy dialog, for Kinsey's observations on life and everything else. I re-read them periodically just for the enjoyment of experiencing Kinsey's wit and snappy comebacks. I agree with a previous reviewer who stated that Peril is two rewrites and an edit short of being ready for publication.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Dennis M. Banahan on February 5, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I am embarrassed to say, " 'P' is for Peril" is the first of the alphabet series I have read by Ms. Grafton. I enjoyed it so much, the day after I finished reading it, I went right out and picked up a copy of "K" is for Killer; and I must say, I enjoyed it equally as well. I hope that by early spring, I know as much about the Kinsey Millhone investigations as Sue Grafton.
Ms. Grafton has successfully blended all the ingredients together for a first rate novel. The story is fast paced and has a suspenseful plot. Ms. Grafton's character development is outstanding too. Kinsey Millhone does not do triple reverse sommersaults and karate six men twice her size to death. She does not work for free and she is not anal retentive about stretching the truth when it suits her purpose. She is a quick wit and a skilled investigator; an extremely believable character.
I'm not an easy sell either. I'm a retired lieutenant with the Chicago Police Department. I spent ten of those years in homicide, ten more in narcotics. I know what rings true in police investigations and I know what Private Investigators can and cannot do. Consequently, I was unable to watch "Columbo" and a host of other like shows; nor can I read novels that stink to the high heavens. Ms. Grafton's books are a breath of fresh air and a great find for me.
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