"Three things occurred on or about May 5, which is not only Cinco de Mayo in California, but Happy Birthday to me. Aside from the fact that I turned thirty-three, the following also came to pass:
1. The reconstruction of my apartment was completed and I moved back in.
2. I was hired by a Mrs. Clyde Gersh to bring her mother back from the desert.
3. I made one of the top slots on Tyrone Patty's hit list."
The introduction of G is for Gumshoe reveals what's in store for Kinsey Millhone in this installment of the popular Sue Grafton series. This time, Santa Teresa's quirky private investigator gets a new apartment based on the events described in E is for Evidence.
The client in this episode is Irene Gersh. She wants Kinsey to go to Brawley, find her mother, Agnes Grey, and bring her back to Santa Teresa. When Kinsey finds the old lady, she has more questions than answers. Agnes is disoriented and frightened. She rambles about mysterious deaths long ago.
Kinsey is barely on the job before she gets frightening news: there's a hit on her life. While handling client business in the California desert, Kinsey is driven off the road. She escapes with minor injuries and the realization that someone really wants her dead.
Grafton presents Robert Dietz as Kinsey's hired bodyguard. He protects Kinsey as she handles the Gersh case. There's validity to Agnes's outbursts and Kinsey wants to know the facts. Unfortunately Agnes vanishes before the mystery can be put to rest.
Meanwhile, Kinsey is in grave danger. The hit man means business and Dietz must keep his client one step ahead of the bad guy. This is one of the most dangerous cases yet.
G is for Gumshoe moves between the Gersh case and the hit contract. Frankly the client's investigation is not as interesting as Kinsey's personal life. The bodyguard and the damsel get close in the new apartment. The result is a rare Grafton love scenesimple like her famous character.
This seventh installment is an easy-reading mystery. Kinsey is her cranky self. Henry the landlord is present for a couple of pages. The introduction of Dietz is a nice break from Kinsey's usual independent monotony.
As with all books in the series, Grafton provides enough background information so the books can be read out of order. It's nice to start with A is for Alibi, but not necessary if you choose to follow Kinsey's adventures.
G is for Gumshoe is a light mystery, ideal for weekend reading. A little expansion of the Gersh case would spice up the plot, but it is still plenty interesting as it stands. Readers may balk at the series timeline. The author sets her mysteries weeks to months apart, keeping her leading lady in an early 80's time warp. Without a computer or a cell phone, Kinsey must use her noodle to solve this case.
Grafton's series is a lot of fun, well worth the reading of all the installments. Female private investigator mysteries may not currently be in fashion, but Kinsey Millhone will always be in style.