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J is for Judgment (Kinsey Millhone Alphabet Mysteries, No. 10) Mass Market Paperback – December 2, 2008

4.3 out of 5 stars 239 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In her 10th alphabet adventure, southern California PI Kinsey Milhone is working again for California Fidelity, navigating her way through a plot-driven tale that will remind readers of her earliest appearances, despite Grafton's deft introduction of new material. Shady financier Wendell Jaffe has recently been decreed dead, five years after his real estate empire collapsed and he disappeared from his beloved 35-foot ketch off the coast, an apparent suicide. California Fidelity has just paid his widow $500,000. But then Jaffe is spotted in Mexico with another woman. Kinsey's investigation lands her in some tough spots--such as a drunken stranger's hotel room where she pretends to be a hooker--gets her shot at and leads to a dramatic resolution at sea. It also introduces her to a genealogist who requires Kinsey to revise her notion of herself as an orphan alone in the world. While maintaining full control of her plot's variously colored threads, many of which are tied to Jaffe's family (his 18-year-old son is on the lam from a murder charge), Grafton cameos such familiar characters as Kinsey's octogenarian landlord Henry, his older brother William, and Rose, the neighborhood bar owner. But the spotlight remains on Kinsey who, without a love interest to distract her, sticks to the case at hand and tries, with limited success, to assimilate the existence of a not too distant family, whom readers will likely learn more of in "K." 500,000 first printing; major ad/promo; Literary Guild selection; author tour.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Kirkus Reviews

Private investigator Kinsey Millhone, the author's tough, tenacious, California-based heroine, has taken on a freelance job for her ex-employer, California Fidelity Insurance. One of their agents, on vacation in a small Mexican hotel, is sure he recognized Wendell Jaffe, a hotshot businessman who'd vanished from his boat at sea years before, leaving behind a suicide note, a clutch of cheated investors, a penniless wife, two young sons, and a partner, Carl Eckert, who wound up in jail. Five years later, just a few months ago, with Jaffe now officially dead, wife Dana had collected a half million from Fidelity. They'd like it back.... Kinsey flies to Mexico and finds her quarry, who's now living with a woman named Renata and is calling himself Dean DeWitt Huff--and who disappears again almost at once. Kinsey's certain the recent widely reported criminal acts of his son Brian have pulled Jaffe back to the US. In California, Kinsey's on the trail again--talking to Dana, to Carl Eckert, now out of jail, to police detectives involved in the original investigation, and to Renata, who, it turns out, owns a waterfront house near Kinsey's home base of Santa Teresa. Even as she chases clues in the present, chunks of Kinsey's own family history intrude, threatening her hard-won loner persona. Jaffe surfaces for the last time in the slightly hokey finale. A tangled, rambling story that's constantly in motion but generates little passion, heat, or tension. Solidly readable but minus the compelling edge of Grafton's best. (First printing of 500,000; Literary Guild Triple Selection for July) -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --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: St. Martin's Paperbacks (December 2, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312945272
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312945275
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (239 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #107,342 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Suzanne on September 7, 2000
Format: Paperback
"J is for Judgment," Sue Grafton's 10th Kinsey Millhone mystery, left me with a bit of what I call the cotton candy syndrome. I started with "A is for Alibi" less than a year ago, and the relative proximity in time between my reading each of the others through "J" has given me a panoramic perspective over them. I have enjoyed Grafton's series more than any other, largely because of the edgy heroine, but I found this installment to be one of the weaker links in an otherwise outstanding series.
I found the first quarter of the book to be highly promising. Kinsey is hired to identify a man spotted in Mexico who may be Wendell Jaffe, recently proclaimed dead years after an apparent boating accident where the body was never found. This section of the book contains one of the funniest moments I've encountered in the series, showing Kinsey as she's never been before.
As Kinsey returns to Santa Teresa for the last three quarters of the book, she encounters the people in Jaffe's life--most of whom are excrutiatingly boring. The primary mystery question posed at the beginning is solved fairy early on, leaving not much left to answer and Jaffe's sniveling family to play out their soap opera.
There is a side story that I found much more interesting than the main plot in the second half. We find out something crucial about Kinsey's mysterious family background. Readers of other books in the series are reminded each book that Kinsey's folks died when she was very young leaving her to be raised by a maiden aunt. In "J is for Judgment," Grafton gives us a deeper look into the tragedy of Kinsey's early years.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I can't understand how I can like one of this series so well and then dislike so much. I really liked "I" but I did not even want to finish "J". I did because I thought it had to get better, guess what, it did not. In "J" Kinsey is hired to try to find a man that has been dead for five years. He had been spotted and the Insurance Company wants him found so they can try to recover the half-million dollars in life insurance they have paid out. The man is of course alive and Kinsey finds him and then he is gone again. Along the way she finds out she does have some cousins she was unaware of. I really do like Kinsey Millhone and her human traits. She is not superwoman, which I like. Have "K" bought so guess I will read it. Hope it is better.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
For the longest time, I refused to read these "alphabet" mysteries. I thought they would be sappy stories and you'd solve the mystery by page 4. Sorta like a Nancy Drew book. A couple weeks ago, I decided to buy the first book in the series and just see what everyone was talking about. Well, I just finished "J" and I have "K" waiting for me. Kinsey is my kind of girl - a wise cracking, independent, intelligent lady. Funny, too. And I still couldn't figure out who done it until I got towards the end of the book. Susan Grafton is a great mystery writer and I laugh out loud at a lot of the wise cracks.I don't know what I'll do when she gets to "Z"!!! Perhaps, she can start on the numbers...... Buy anyone of these books - you won't regret it!!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I find some in this series very good; others to be so-so. This is one of the latter. No matter what alphabet letter, I like Kinsey Millhone. As a PI she's very real, not a superwoman. As a person, she's enjoyable.
In "J" she's hired by her former employer, an insurance company to find if a certain man is dead or alive. He's a tricky little sucker, having committed a Ponzi scheme, then vanishes. The company has paid out $500,00 to his wife. Is she really widowed or not? Along the way, we have one of their sons, who is in legal trouble, his ex-partner, a girlfriend, an older ex-cop. Some of the characters are developed, others not.

We also come across a good deal of dialogue involving Kinsey's lost cousin & family matters. All which have nothing to do with the story. I felt this entire section need not be in the book.

The story didn't really have punch for me. The beginning was fine, the middle bogged down to the point wherein I almost did not finish this one. The ending was fine & leaves the reader wondering, which can be fun. The character of Ms. Millhone helped this book to survive till the end more than the story
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What can you say about Sue Grafton other than she is a great mystery writer. Kinsey Milhone is an ex-cop and has her own detective agency and never much of a sex life if that what your looking for, go elsewhere. This is a traditional gumshoe story with action and danger for our heroine. After some spotty success writing books, Grafton changed to writing screenplays for TV and movies. With the success of her first Alphabet series book ' A is for Alibi' in 1982 it has continued to date. I first discovered her books when I came across 'G is for Gumshoe' (pub 1990) in a recycle center in 2000, I proceeded to local bookstores and Amazon to acquire all of this series up until the current at the time 'O is For Outlaw'. It's always great when you come across a great series in progress as it's a joy just reading book after book from a great writer. Much like 'binge watching TV series on Netflix nowadays. Only problem with an ongoing series is waiting for the next book. Grafton has done only a couple of yearly books and mostly every other year since 'P is for Peril' in 2001. It is now up to just plain 'X' in 2015 and will end with 'Z is for Zero'. I'm hoping she has Y & Z completed as she is 75 now and I'm 70 and don't want to miss the conclusion of this great series.
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