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Review: T is for Trespass plus a sneak peek

October 18, 2011

Private investigator Kinsey Millhone has been hired by an attorney to look into a car accident.  The attorney’s client is being sued and it appears she was at fault in the accident.   She maintains her innocence and claims there is a witness who can back up her account of the accident.  The problem is no one knows who or where he is.

While she’s working on that case, Kinsey’s cranky neighbor, Gus, falls and dislocates his shoulder.  His great-niece flies from New York to make arrangements for him and hires a nurse to check on him every day.  She asks Kinsey to do a background check on the nurse and, on the surface, the nurse appears to have a clean record.  Things aren’t always as they appear, though, and Kinsey becomes suspicious.  She calls Gus’s niece with her concerns, but his niece is too busy to address them.  It’s up to Kinsey to get to the bottom of things.

T is for Trespass, by Sue Grafton, is a wonderful addition to her alphabet series featuring Kinsey Millhone.  I was hooked from the beginning and couldn’t put the book down.   Kinsey is a fabulous character and probably one of my favorite fictional detectives.  She’s down to earth, non-pretentious, intuitive, tenacious, and street-smart.  Since the book is set in the 1980’s, before electronic devices became so prevalent. she has to use her wits  and do a lot of footwork to solve crimes.

The story is told from Kinsey’s perspective, in the first person, as well as the nurse’s perspective, in the third person.  I thought it was a great way to tell the story because watching the two of them try to outsmart each other really built the tension in the story.  It also  made me want to warn Kinsey a time or two!

This book also brought to light the issue of elder abuse and, I have to tell you, that was really scary to read about!  It was chilling to see how easily someone could come in and take over and take advantage of a senior citizen.  It’ll sure make you think twice if you ever have to hire caregivers for a loved one.

This is probably one of the strongest entries in a great series and, if you like mysteries, you won’t want to miss it.  It’s not necessary to have read the rest of the series to enjoy T is for Trespass – as with the rest of the series, this book stands alone just fine.

Review copy provided by Penguin Books.  I am an Indiebound Affiliate.


– Win Books Q through U plus V is for Vengeance –

To celebrate the impending release of V is for Vengeance, Penguin is giving away three sets of books Q, R, S, T, U (paperback), as well as a copy of V is for Vengeance to three people. To be entered to win, just leave a comment on all ten blogs involved in Sue Grafton’s Blog Tour (US and Canada only).   In addition to the contest, each stop on the tour is featuring a sneak peek of V is for Vengeance.


– V is for Vengeance: Excerpt 7 –

I paused, feigning interest in a rack of house robes while I kept an eye on her. She rearranged the display to disguise the gap where the stolen pajamas had been resting mere moments before. To the average observer, she appeared to be restoring order to an untidy tabletop. I’ve done the same thing myself after rooting through a pile of sweaters in search of my size.

She glanced at me, but by then I was scrutinizing the construction of a house robe I’d removed from the rack. She seemed to take no further notice of me. Her manner was matter-of-fact. If I hadn’t just witnessed the sleight of hand, I wouldn’t have given her another thought.

Except for this one tiny point:

Early in my career, after I’d graduated from the police academy and during my two-year stint with the Santa Teresa Police Department, I’d worked a six-month rotation in property crimes—the unit handling burglaries, embezzlement, auto theft, and retail theft, both petit and grand. Shoplifters are the bane of retail businesses, which lose billions annually in what’s euphemistically referred to as “inventory shrink­age.” My old training kicked in. I noted the time (5:26 P.M.) and studied the woman as though I were already leafing through mug shots, look­ing for a match. Briefly, I thought back to the younger woman in whose company I’d first seen her. There was no sign of the younger woman now, but it wouldn’t have surprised me to find out they were working in tandem.

With the older woman now in close range, I upgraded her age from midfifties to midsixties. She was shorter than I and probably forty pounds heavier, with short blond hair back-combed to a puff and sprayed to a fare-thee-well. In the clear overhead light, her makeup glowed pink while her neck was stark white. She crossed to a table dis­play of lace teddies, touching the fabrics appreciatively. She checked the whereabouts of the sales staff and then, with her index and middle fingers, she gathered one of the teddies, compressing it into accordion folds until it disappeared like a handkerchief crumpled in her hand. She eased the garment into her shoulder bag and then removed her compact as though that had been her intent. She powdered her nose and made a minor correction to her eye makeup, the teddy now safely de­posited in her purse. I glanced at the rack of bras and panties where I’d first seen the two women. The rack had been thinned considerably, and I was guessing she or the other woman had added any number of items to her cache of stolen goods. Not to criticize, but she should have quit while she was ahead.

I went straight to the register. The sales clerk smiled pleasantly as I placed my selection on the counter. Her name tag read CLAUDIA RINES, SALES ASSISTANT. We were nodding acquaintances, in that I saw her from time to time at Rosie’s Tavern, half a block from my apartment. I frequented the place because Rosie was a friend, but I couldn’t think why anyone else would go there, aside from certain undiscerning neighbors of the alcoholic sort. Tourists shunned the restaurant, which was not only shabby and outdated, but devoid of charm; in other words, innately appealing to the likes of me.

Under my breath, I said to Claudia, “Please don’t look now, but the woman over at that table in the black pantsuit just stole a lace teddy and two pairs of silk pajamas.”

She fl icked a look at the customer. “The middle-aged blonde?”


“I’ll take care of it,” she said. She turned and picked up the house phone, angling her body so she could keep an eye on the woman while she spoke in low tones. Once alerted, an agent in the security of­fice would check the bank of monitors in front of him, searching for the suspect in question. Strategically placed cameras picked up over­lapping views that covered all three floors, forty thousand square feet of retail space. When he had her in view, he could pan, tilt, and zoom to keep her under continuous observation while the loss-prevention offi cer was dispatched.

Claudia returned the receiver to the cradle, her professional smile still in place. “He’s on his way. He’s one fl oor down.”

I handed her my credit card and waited while she removed price tags and rang up the sale. She placed my purchases in a shopping bag and came around the end of the counter to hand it to me. She was doubtless as conscious of the shoplifter as I was, though both of us tried not to call attention to the fact that we were tracking her. On the far side of the floor, the elevator doors opened and a man in a dark gray business suit emerged with a walkie-talkie to his lips. He might as well have worn a sandwich board announcing his status as a loss-prevention officer.

He made his way past infant and children’s wear and into lingerie, where he paused to engage Claudia in conversation. She relayed what I’d told her, saying, “This is Mr. Koslo.”

We nodded at each other.

“You’re sure of this?” he asked.

I said, “Quite.” I took out a photocopy of my PI license and placed it on the counter where he could view it. While none of us looked di­rectly at the woman in the pantsuit, I could see the color draining from her face. Shoplifters are nothing if not canny in their assessment of jeopardy. In addition to closed-circuit television cameras, sales staff and the store’s plainclothes floor walkers were all a source of peril. I’d have been willing to bet she had close to a photographic memory of every shopper in the area.

49 Comments leave one →
  1. kaye permalink
    October 18, 2011 6:30 am

    I thought T is for Trespass was one of Grafton’s best. Identity theft was a timely issue also. Can’t wait to read V is for Vengeance. I wonder what she will come up with for X.

  2. October 18, 2011 6:35 am

    I really like Kinsey. I read A-L as they came out but have let the series go lately. I really should catch up before we get to Z.

  3. October 18, 2011 7:07 am

    I know I have read this one. Not sure about U…

    I love Kinsey as a series character. And I also love her neighbor. I miss her. I need to go dig up U.

  4. October 18, 2011 7:13 am

    I like that the books are set in a time where there is less technology for some reason, and think that these books would be fun to explore. Great review on this one, Kathy!

  5. October 18, 2011 7:17 am

    So excited about these two books! I’ll be reading the U book soon too!

  6. October 18, 2011 7:34 am

    I’ve always been aware of these books (a few friends read them) but never got around to trying one. It’s nice to know that T is a strong addition to the series. I agree, elder abuse is scary.

  7. October 18, 2011 7:55 am

    I have to get back to these. The only thing that has stopped me is trouble remembering the alphabet! well, that is, where I was in it! LOL But I should just say the heck with it and go to T. It sounds like fun!

  8. October 18, 2011 7:59 am

    Oh, I haven’t read one of these for quite some time…you’ve put them on my radar now. Great review!

  9. October 18, 2011 8:05 am

    I’ve enjoyed reading the Kinsey Millhone series over the years. It’s like catching up with an old friend.

    • October 25, 2011 9:36 pm

      That’s exactly how I feel — and it’s also like a time machine to the ’80s. 😀

  10. October 18, 2011 8:36 am

    I really enjoy the Kinsey Millhone books since they are set in Santa Barbara (where I live). All the street names are changed so it’s fun to figure out exactly where she is during the stories

  11. October 18, 2011 8:51 am

    Good to know that this is one of the “stronger” books in the series. I have yet to explore these though I’ve been meaning to for years.

  12. October 18, 2011 9:30 am

    I haven’t read a Sue Grafton book in years and years. This one sounds terrific!

  13. October 18, 2011 9:44 am

    I have enjoyed T and each of the other letter books. I can not wait to read V. Sue Grafton is a great author.

  14. October 18, 2011 9:55 am

    I’ve loved the whole series and I agree that “T” was one of her best. Can hardly wait to read “V” but I dread the coming of “Z.”

  15. October 18, 2011 10:32 am

    I almost don’t want to admit this but I haven’t read any of these novels. I don’t know why but I think I’m going to have to get started. Millions of readers can’t be wrong.

  16. October 18, 2011 11:30 am

    T sounds amazing, I haven’t read any of this series and hate when I am so far behind. I think i’m going to read T and then go back and start from A.

  17. October 18, 2011 11:30 am

    These sound good, must read, great review.

  18. October 18, 2011 12:10 pm

    I haven’t read any of these books but my hair dresser tells me they are excellent. I should give this series a try!

  19. Mary Miller permalink
    October 18, 2011 12:13 pm

    I love your description of Kinsey, ” down to earth, non-pretentious, intuitive, tenacious, and street smart”. It’s so fun to follow her through this series! Thanks for the peek at V. I’m having a hard time getting just a little taste every few days, ususally I devour the book all at once.

  20. Maureen permalink
    October 18, 2011 12:35 pm

    I’m surprised that so many of you haven’t yet picked up the series, but glad to read that your interest has been piqued. Mary M, I’m like you and devour each new book in record time. When there’s too great a lag time between novels I go back and start reading them all again. T kept me off balance but reminded me also that when push comes to shove Kinsey can steady herself and take out the threat.

  21. October 18, 2011 12:36 pm

    I liked this series once, but gave up on it at some point. however if this is one of the best, maybe I need to reconsider.

  22. October 18, 2011 1:01 pm

    {shudder} I could not read about elder abuse, but I do understand it exists.

  23. October 18, 2011 1:27 pm

    I really need to catch up with Kinsey — I spent a winter getting to know her a few years back, but I think I’ve only made it up to O or P. I’d love to reconnect with this “old friend.” Thanks for the giveaway!

  24. October 18, 2011 3:37 pm

    +1 on fearing the elder abuse! Not something I’ve considered much because I’m young and my parents are still young & fit – but I recently read Turn of Mind by Alice LaPlante and it caused me these same sort of goosebumps. (my review will be up in a day or two…)

  25. October 18, 2011 3:54 pm

    I keep meaning to start this series because it sounds like such a good one but haven’t yet. One of these days I will.

  26. October 18, 2011 4:03 pm

    I think I meant to read the Grafton books when i was 12, and did I? Well no

  27. October 18, 2011 5:41 pm

    I used to love these books but have not read one in quite some time…but they sound like they are worth picking up again.

  28. Margaret permalink
    October 18, 2011 6:35 pm

    Sounds like quite a good series to read!


  29. October 18, 2011 9:11 pm

    I finally picked up A earlier this year. I’m looking forward to giving this series a try.

  30. October 18, 2011 9:41 pm

    I haven’t read this series yet, and I’m impressed that the author is already at V now! I’m glad to see that you recommend this.

  31. October 18, 2011 9:51 pm

    I can’t believe I’m admitting this on the World Wide Web (listen for my southern drawl there!); but I must be honest….I have never liked this series….i have tried and tried and tried…but i just can’t get into the main character – she annoys me for some reason. My dad loved Grafton’s books and I would buy up the newest one every time it came out for him….but alas, I just never could do the A-B-C murders….

    your review is great though =}

  32. October 19, 2011 2:57 am

    Hi Kathy,

    This is one series of books that I have never started on, although they are hugely popular, here in the UK.

    In the charity shop where I volunteer, I am asked endlessly if we have any books in the series, by folks who are just looking for the ‘odd letter’ to fill a gap in their set.

    I think that it will probably be the case that I will try to amass all the books before starting out on them, as it sounds as if they are quite addictive and easy to read, so I can imagine myself tackling them all one after the other.

  33. October 19, 2011 5:22 am

    i’m a long-time kinsey fan here–i’ve read them all through U and am eagerly awaiting V. sue grafton also wrote a short story–full circle–that i use in my 9th grade lit class. i’m a big fan and have a bit of a crush on henry. i’d love to live in kinsey’s redone studio apartment, too! 🙂

  34. October 19, 2011 7:05 am

    I have not read Grafton’s books before but have heard only good things about them Thanks for the review and giveaway information.

  35. October 19, 2011 8:46 am

    I haven’t read any of this series, but it’s good to know that each book stands alone. Glad you liked this one.

  36. October 19, 2011 1:35 pm

    I’ve read every book in this series … and I’ll be reading V when it comes out too!

  37. October 19, 2011 1:42 pm

    I like this series too. I was thinking about it not too long ago and wondering how Sue Grafton was going to wind up her series. Looks like she hasn’t slowed down at all.

  38. October 19, 2011 3:16 pm

    I like this series but I haven’t read one in a while. I got stalled around “L”. Have to get back to them.

  39. October 19, 2011 6:03 pm

    Have you read all of Grafton’s ‘alphabet mystery’ books, Kathy? I read a few (F? G?) ages ago. Like Leslie, I’ll have to return to them.

  40. October 19, 2011 9:22 pm

    I started reading this series a long time ago and left off in the middle of the alphabet. Elderly abuse is scary especially because they are so vulnerable!

  41. Lisa Garrett permalink
    October 20, 2011 7:18 pm

    The last one I read was P.. I can’t wait to read these!

  42. October 20, 2011 7:26 pm

    I think you might be leading the group for comments on this tour, no surprise there. I have fallen behind in my Grafton world but this has reminded me I have to get back to it. So fun.

  43. October 23, 2011 2:45 pm

    I have many of these books already, but have yet to read A is for Alibi! I really must get to this series!

    • October 25, 2011 10:56 pm

      This book is a good spotlight on elder abuse as well as a time to meet with old friends.
      Una Tiers

  44. October 27, 2011 7:18 pm

    OH this one was so well written, but it drove me nuts. I get way too involved. 🙂 I just wanted to know that chick in the head. Which obviously is quite impossible when you are just reading a book. I love the way Sue Grafton has with writing characters, and I just love Kinsey. It has been fun dropping by all these stops. I have missed reading these books!

  45. October 27, 2011 8:41 pm

    Thanks for your review!

  46. October 28, 2011 4:41 am

    It has been a while since i have read Sue Grafton books and it would be nice to catch up on them

    silverneon2000 at yahoo dot com

  47. Lori permalink
    October 30, 2011 10:13 am

    love the series and would love to win the books so I can catch up and then pass the books on to my mom.

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