Private investigator Kinsey Millhone has served Sue Grafton well through 16 letters of the alphabet in a perennially popular series
that occasionally breaks new ground but more often traverses familiar territory, as is the case here. Two old, ailing cops--one retired, the other disabled--try to breathe some life into an 18-year-old mystery that haunts them both for different reasons. They enlist Kinsey's help in identifying the victim, a young woman who was murdered and left for dead in the old quarry of the title. Neither they nor Kinsey expect that reopening an old case will incite the killer to strike again--not once, but twice. And while the real case of the still-unidentified victim that inspired this fictionalized scenario continues to languish in the cold case file in the Santa Barbara sheriff's office, Grafton's solution is as plausible as any. While the unlikely trio of Millhone and her cranky geezer sidekicks offers a few chuckles, the inner reaches of Kinsey's soul remain largely inaccessible to her as well as to the reader, which will probably not bother most of Kinsey's or Grafton's many admirers. --Jane Adams
From Publishers Weekly
While Kinsey Millhone is as energetic and tenacious as ever, and the plot hustles along at a gratifying pace, her 17th adventure is a little slow getting underway with all the initial accumulated biographical data. Two policemen out hunting discover a teenage girl's body near a quarry off California's Highway 1. Eighteen years later, the two recruit Millhone to help them try to identify the victim. Stacey Oliphant, now retired from the force, and Con Dolan, unwillingly sidelined by heart trouble, are as quarrelsome as an old married couple, but they both desperately want to find the killer in the quarry case. Their inquiries lead the trio from Santa Teresa to Quorum, a town in the desert near the Arizona border. At the time of the murder, a wrecked red convertible was found near the crime scene-stolen from an auto shop in Quorum. When Millhone and her cohorts talk to the grumpy shop owner, Ruel McPhee, and his charming son, Cornell, they get little information. Visits around town and probing conversations reveal various family secrets and covert liaisons, until the somewhat precipitous unmasking of the killer. Grafton briefly shoehorns in Millhone's interactions with her lost family, but that subject continues to feel as artificially imposed as it did in earlier books. A marvelously successful addition, however, is the twosome of Dolan and Oliphant. Their deftly rendered relationship is a delight; with any luck, the duo will appear in future Millhone mysteries. A main selection of the Literary Guild, Doubleday Book Club and Mystery Guild, and a BOMC featured selection.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.