H Is for Homicide

Sue Grafton, Author Henry Holt & Company $28 (256p) ISBN 978-0-8050-1084-8
Or ``H'' may be for ``Hispanic,'' as the murder of an insurance claims adjuster sends PI Kinsey Milhone undercover in a Los Angeles barrio. Following up a suspicious claim in the murder victim's files, Kinsey trails beautiful young Bibianna Diaz, recently moved up the coast to Santa Teresa from L.A. Under the alias Hannah Moore, Kinsey befriends the young woman and learns she is attempting the same scam pursued by Raymond Maldonado, her ex-boyfriend in L.A. When Raymond's brother, sent to bring Bibianna back, is shot by the young woman's new lover, an old friend of Kinsey's, both Bibianna and Hannah/Kinsey are taken to jail, where Kinsey secretly agrees to join a statewide fraud investigation. Raymond's henchmen grab Bibianna, and take Kinsey too. Kinsey's harrowing experiences include instigating car accidents as part of the scam and unearthing evidence to blow the operation. A pit bull, the surprising identity of an undercover LAPD cop and the unpredictable rages of Raymond, who suffers from Tourette's Syndrome, contribute atmosphere to the PI.'s eighth alphabet escapade. The usually upbeat Kinsey seems a little dispirited here. She admits to missing Robert Dietz, her love interest who left for Germany at the end of ``G'' Is for Gumshoe , but may also be reacting to the essentially humdrum plot. Kinsey remains a star supported by a lively cast, but the insurance business doesn't test her mettle, a fact which she determines for herself, assuring readers of one thing ``I'' won't be for. 150,000 first printing; Literary Guild and Mystery Guild selections; Doubleday Book Club alternate. (May)
Reviewed on: 05/13/1991
Release date: 05/01/1991
Mass Market Paperbound - 305 pages - 978-0-312-94565-7
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