Sue Graftons new collection of short stories, Kinsey and Me, is a mixed bag of material. There are gems inside that fans of Graftons alphabet series of Kinsey Millhone detective capers are sure to enjoy.
Her best-selling novels are readily available in bookstores, but did you know that Grafton also wrote eight mystery shorts featuring her plucky private eye? Published in the late 1980s and early 1990s in Redbook and in various anthology collections, these breezy detective shorts havent been as easy to track down over the years.
That makes Kinsey and Me a kind of desert oasis for die-hard, read-everything-already fans as they wait for the next installment in the series, the as-yet-untitled W book due this year.
But accompanying these solid mini-mysteries is a collection of head-scratchers that simply dont belong in the same volume: 13 quasi-autobiographical stories about a girl named Kit Blue and her painful early life with an alcoholic mother.
Kinsey and Me is actually a reprint of a story collection Grafton privately published in 1991.
Maybe some readers will think its interesting. But most will probably yearn for more of what attracted them to Graftons writing in the first place.
Alas, theres only one new Kinsey Millhone tale accompanying the eight aforementioned stories. Its a goofy five-page reprint from a 2003 Lands End catalog in which the heroine persistently plugs the clothing companys Squall Parka with Thermolite Micro insulation. The dialog in this story includes an exchange in which a suspect says, Nice jacket, by the way. It looks warm, and Kinsey replies, Thanks, it is. Its also machine-washable.
If the author really wanted to make this book special, maybe she should have put her back into writing two new mystery short stories. Or a 100-page novella.
Readers are being asked to hand over $27.95 for Kinsey and Me. They should get something truly special in return.