"B" is for Burglar is the second installment in the popular Sue Grafton series. Once again we meet Kinsey Millhone, a quirky no-nonsense gal who lives in a converted garage apartment and drives a VW bug. Though she may sound boring, you'll soon see that the life of this private investigator is anything but ordinary.
Two weeks have passed since the occurrence of the events described in "A" is for Alibi. When Kinsey arrives at her office one morning, a woman is waiting out front. Her name is Beverly Danziger and she wants to hire Kinsey to locate a missing person. Beverly's sister Elaine Boldt is nowhere to be found. She's needed to sign a probate document to release a small inheritance. Beverly wants Kinsey to track her down.
It seems like a simple case, but nothing is as easy as it appears. At first glance it looks like Elaine left her Santa Teresa condo for her summer residence in Florida. However, nobody down there has seen her. Adding to the mystery is Pat Usher, who claims to be subletting Elaine's Florida condo. While everyone else says they haven't seen Elaine, Pat says she has had contact with her. Who is right?
To complicate matters, it appears Elaine left Santa Teresa in a hurry, which is very unusual. Kinsey also finds out that there was a murder and arson cover-up that happened a few doors down months earlier. Could it be a coincidence in this safe neighborhood? Kinsey thinks not as many of the players are tied together.
Just as Kinsey suspects foul play and starts asking questions, Beverly Danziger pulls her off the case and fires her, only adding to the suspicion that something is not right. Kinsey continues the case for Elaine's friend who also has concerns.
Soon, Elaine's neighbor has a break-in at her apartment. Somebody was there looking for somethingbut what? Shortly thereafter, the burglar hits Kinsey's apartment as well.
"B" is for Burglar follows Kinsey as she tries to find the answers to Elaine's disappearance. It seems everyone is a suspect, including Elaine herself.
This is an interesting story. The quirky characters and strange events held my attention throughout the book. There's a small amount of gore when Grafton describes the body of the charred murder victim, but that's it. The language is mildly salty, but I would expect that from good ol' Kinsey.
Grafton plays the story down to the wire with an exciting climax at the very end of the book. My only regret was that two characters that play prominent roles at the beginning, aren't mentioned at the end. I refuse to elaborate on that point, as I don't want to shorten this list if suspects for prospective readers.
"B"is for Burglar was the winner of the 1985 Shamus Award and 1985 Anthony Award for best novel. Portions of the book show their age (Oh how far we have come with this thing they call the Internet!), but didn't really detract from the story in my opinion.
In case you live in a cave (and there's nothing wrong with that), I'll add that this book is part of a whole Kinsey Millhone series that starts with "A" and will hopefully continue through "Z" or longer.
Overall, I really enjoy the series and suggest it to anyone who likes a little light mystery and suspense in his or her reading life. These stories are entertaining and easy to follow. I recommend Sue Grafton's work across the board including "B" is for Burglar. Pick it up today and enjoy!