Book info

B Is For Burglar (2005)

B is for Burglar (2005)
Author
Rating
3.81 of 5 Votes: 5
ISBN
0312939000 (ISBN13: 9780312939007)
languge
English
publisher
st. martin's paperbacks
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B Is For Burglar (2005)
B Is For Burglar (2005)

About book: I'm not entirely comfortable with the Goodreads star system. All through school I was judged on a 10 points scale, and a 6 was a very low grade, just a step above the barely passed examination (5). On that scale Sue Grafton is a comfortable 8 - intelligent, intriguing, elegant. But I have read better mysteries and I suspect in a year or two I will scratch my head and wonder what was this book about?The one thing that will remain for sure is the main character - Kinsey Millhone - private investigator in Santa Teresa, a typical (read imaginary) California town in the 1980's. I've only read two books featuring her, and she seems perfectly capable of carrying the series forward for the next 20 books. A 30 something freelance professional with a past career in the police force, she makes a credible scion of the hard boiled detectives from the classic "noir" period. She may not compete with said detectives in the physical violence and colourful language game, but she's sharp and she's quite capable of taking care of herself. What I like most about her is her self-reliance and independence. She doesn't need a man to validate her, and she's not guilt ridden or defensive about it. I also like that she is not a prude, not bitter about men, in fact she's got a bit of a roving eye, but she's not needy or pushy / bossy. I hope she will get some companionship later in the series, it will be interesting to see how she will play it out. I've been married twice myself and both ended in divorce. I berate myself for that sometimes but now I'm not sure. Maybe I haven't made such a bad trade-off. Personally, I'd rather grow old alone than in the company of anyone I've met so far. I don't experience myself as lonely, incomplete, or unfulfilled, but I don't talk about that much. It seems to piss people off - especially men. Way to go, girl! I actually would like to take her out to a dinner sometime, I'm sure she'll be tons of fun, with her casual wear, practical hairstyle and preference for junk food. She's also capable of name dropping Anna Magnani, Jeanne Moreau, Simone Signoret in casual conversation, always a plus to a film buff like me.As far as B for Burglar is concerned, it starts like one of Raymond Chandler novels, with one smooth lady hiring Kinsey to find her missing sister. Kinsey has very little to start with, but she patiently interviews neighbors, gathering clues and writing her little post-it reminders. Instead of unravelling the mystery, the plot thickens - with hints at insurance fraud, identity theft, drug dealing and some breaking and entering to justify the title. As genre novels go, I would classify this as a police procedural rather than an action thriller, with mind games playing a bigger role than physical conflict (present only at the very end).My main issues with the novel come from a lack of urgency, of tension. It was a fast read, stimulating and with many a fun moment, but not really a page turner. And when I'm guessing the identity of the main culprit in the first quarter of the book, instead of patting myself on the back for how smart I am, I would say the author did a poor job at dissimulation and at throwing red herrings. Kinsey took a long time to reach what I considered the logical conclusion given the initial clues. Or maybe I've read too many mystery novels.

I've been carrying "B is for Burglar" by Sue Grafton around with me in case I'm ever in need of a book at a cabin or somewhere. I always keep an unread book with me in case I need a quick book fix. I think that is a true sign of a dork. Well, t came in handy this time and I read it...but alas. Sue Grafton is no Agatha Christie, and I think this (my second book I've read by her) will be my last attempt at the Alphabet Murder series. It just isn't for me.I think my first complaint is that Kinsey Millhone, the feisty female detective, lacks personality and is just...eh...dull I suppose. I don't like her at all. If I knew her in real life I wouldn't even waste my time talking to her because she to me just gives off an angry yet uniteresting vibe. And because I don't like the main character in the series its, quitting time for me.This book is about a woman who is looking for her missing sister Elaine. However, she isn't worried at first because Elaine has a home in both California and Florida and often home hops. But with a mysterious neigbourly fire nearby and the fact that Elaine split suddenly leaves Millhone suspicious.Alright, so in books I do like detail. I do like a clear vivid image of the places and people I'm reading about. However, I don't need to know every last calorie Kinsey Millhone consumes. WAAYYYY to much detail. I feel like it is filler to stretch the book out longer. There are so many instances of un-needed detail that I was half expecting Sue Grafton to describe the texture and consistency of Kinsey's poops. The too much detail thing made me sigh with annoyance several times.The story is predictable as well, which unrealistic suspects and side characters. However, the twist somewhat got me, even though it is ridiculous (the surprise is what put it up to 2 stars instead of 1). I won't spoil it just in case.I have learned my lesson. Next time I'm in the mood for a mystery, stick with Agatha.
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Reviews
Robert
Kinsey Millhone might have her iconic status entrenched about as well as Sue Grafton has hers, and the series has kept me just interested enough to continue through to O, but I’ll need to take periodic breaths in between, or I might find myself gasping for air as the clock strikes E. Who knows? I might make it all the way to G before I pass out, but there’s the distinct possibility I’ll turn blue sooner rather than later.Like a female version of James Bond, she has her good points, and she has her bad ones, but she goes down easier in small doses. Sugar helps, and divorces might too, of which she’s had a few, even if she’s only in her mid-thirties, and her smile might be an easier pill to swallow, if the mystery didn’t feel as though it was a bit forced.Her male counterparts may lack in development, and end up a bit too lean on their stocky frames with hard noses and hard attitudes, and a lack of conviction, and possibly convention as well. A personality injection might even the score, even if they could probably use a little more. The mystery felt undernourished, and could probably have used a bit more flourish. Or maybe panache might have made my smiles a bit cleaner, even if the prose was already leaner…than many tales with a PI at the center of attention, even as she strives for the hard-boiled convention.Even the women proved of a crazy sort, with eccentric personalities that they should probably abort. It was slow, and it was fast, and often somewhere in between, but I never felt fully engaged in the scene. I might have laughed, but I certainly didn’t cry, as I watched some poor motherfucker die. And when it was all said and done, I needed a pause before I attacked the next one.Cross-posted at Robert's Reads
Jeff
B is for Burglar is the second novel by Sue Grafton to feature her tough girl detective, Kinsey Millhone. It is also the second book that I have read by Sue Grafton with A is for Alibi being the first. Kinsey is hired by the sister of a missing woman because she needs a signature for some inheritance money. What starts as simple missing persons case quickly turns into a tightly woven story involving arson and murder. And Kinsey is up to the task. I continue to like the character of Kinsey Millhone and find her wry, keen observations about her cases and her environment very entertaining. Kinsey is a good detective not without her flaws but she can detect and follow leads. And we, as the reader, get to follow along with her as she develops clues that turn into leads. For me that is what I like the most about a good detective book, that the detective follows the clues no matter where they might lead. Along the way we get to meet some colorful characters, listen to Kinsey's witty observations about life, and follow Kinsey as she puts the pieces together to finally solve the mystery. Kinsey is rapidly becoming one of my favorite characters in detective fiction. The mysteries may not be overly complex but they are enjoyable and fun to read. I am looking forward to reading through the alphabet of mysteries featuring Kinsey Millhone by Sue Grafton.
Sarah
I hope that these books get better. I may just have to give up on them. This book wasn't so much bad as it was pointless and boring, at least to me. I didn't care about anyone in this book, at all. No one grabbed my attention, and the mystery was just so-so. Kinsey (the main character) is really weird to me. I feel like we are supposed to think she is this cool,quirky, bad ass but she comes across to me pretty much the opposite. She is unnecessarily rude to people, she seems weirdly oblivious at times, and she weirdly sexualizes everyone she meets...Well, at least the men. And I mean everyone. Last book it was a bunch of guys including a 12-year-old deaf kid and in this book it includes a 16 (or 17?) year-old punk, and her geriatric landlord. It is just really off-putting. I'll admit this may just be me, but i don't think so.Also bad, I guessed what was going on pretty early in the book. Now, if the rest of the plot is well written and engaging it doesn't matter, but if it is slow and boring it is like pulling teeth to get through.I know that these books start out written in the 80s before cell phones and other tech advances, but i don't mind that in the book. It actually makes me smile a bit.I am going on the the third book in the hopes that as Sue Grafton goes along she gets better. I certainly hope so.
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