Tuesday, January 17, 2006

S is for Spunky

My sister-in-law gave me Sue Grafton's newest release for Christmas, S is for Silence. My husband gave me novels A-R for my birthday last year, and I had them all read before Valentines Day. I think this is her best release yet.

She has taken a new approach in developing her plot in this one, and it agrees with me. Instead of her standard first chapter where she introduces herself, she begins with a scene from 1953. At once, the reader is curious about what approach Grafton is taking this time around. Did the mystery begin and end in 1953? How does Kinsey Millhone factor in? Any reader of the alphabet series knows that Kinsey Millhone will be the PI on the case, so we immediately begin to look for connections to her. Our questions are answered in Chapter 2.

"The puzzle of Violet Sullivan was dumped in my lap via a phone call from a woman named Tannie Ottweiler, whom I'd met through my friend, Lieutenant Dolan..."
Grafton goes on to lay the groundwork for her case: the tale of a woman missing for thirty-four years-vanished into thin air. The case has grown cold. No one even cares to find Violet anymore--except maybe her daughter Daisy. Can Kinsey pick up the trail on a case this cold? You bet. Kinsey Millhone always gets her man--and, in this case, woman and dog as well.

My favorite part of the whole book is a note from the author in which she explains that this is a work of fiction. You would think that would be obvious. But evidently from Ms. Grafton's experience, some readers tend to take her writing quite literally. She explains that she has taken liberties with the geography of her setting, which is quite within her rights as a novelist.

Ms. Grafton writes: "I've relocated, rerouted, and renamed these roads according to the dictates of the story. Please do not write me those notes telling me I got it wrong, because I didn't."

That statement alone endeared me to her forever. She's got spunk. If you haven't read it yet, it's worth a read. And you don't necessarily have to read the eighteen previous novels to get this one, but you will want to afterward.

Read and let me know what you think.


Lisa said...

Hi Cynthia-
Me again...I had the link going right to that entry (in response to your previous email.) I have it changed now on my site.

I have read Ms. Grafton's books in the past but haven't in a while so I'll have to pick up her latest. I like women with "spunk." ;)

That's funny about her comment about changing geography-that often crosses my mind. I've read that the writer should be true to the geography or as close as possible. I guess it just goes to show us that if one has a good story and is an experienced writer, anything is possible ;)

So much to learn, so little time.

Anonymous said...

Keep the faith Cynthia