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P is for Peril    by Sue Grafton order for
P is for Peril
by Sue Grafton
Order:  USA  Can
Putnam, 2002 (2001)
Hardcover, Paperback, Audio, CD

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* *   Reviewed by Angela Landreth

The premise of this sixteenth in the Kinsey Millhone Alphabet Mystery series could easily have been based on recent headlines in the United States. Retired doctor Dowan Purcell has disappeared without a trace. Kinsey often goes against her instincts, and this case is yet another example. The doctor's ex-wife, Fiona, hires Santa Teresa PI Kinsey without consulting his current wife, Crystal. Why is Fiona more concerned about the disappearance than Crystal? What is really going on at the nursing home where Dr. Purcell worked? Why had he disappeared before?

The investigation reveals many possible reasons as to why the doctor may have left. Of course Kinsey has her own problems to deal with, while pursuing the investigation. At the same time as she is looking for new office space, her personal life spins somewhat out of control. P is for Peril is well written, with many of the signature twists and turns expected by Grafton's fans. Although I do not consider it to be one of the best books in the series, it is still a good read.

Audiobook Review by Mary Ann Smyth:

Lucky me. I ran across a Sue Grafton audiobook. I had read it - who doesn't keep up with the Kinsey Millhone alphabetical mystery series? But the fact that this particular one is on cassettes only intensified for me the suspense and derring-do of one of my favorite PIs. The cover of the box intrigues with: 'P Is for Peril: Kinsey Millhone's latest venture into the darker side of the human soul.'

Dr. Dowan Purcell disappeared. Neither his ex-wife nor his present trophy wife has any idea where he has gotten to. He has been known to disappear for several weeks at a time, but this has been nine weeks. Also, the government had started raking through the books of the nursing facility he ran, and his passport is missing. Looks like he's done a runner. Enter Kinsey. As far as she is concerned, all is not right with the picture. Against her better judgment, she enters the fray. At the same time, she rents new, inexpensive office space from two brothers with shady pasts. If it's too good to be true ... looks like she's in peril from more than one quarter. Kinsey meets the people in Dr. Purcell's life and finds a man who was well-liked and sorely missed. The plot is cleverly written tight with each thread leading to the next.

Grafton took on the job of writing a novel for every letter of the alphabet. She is fulfilling that promise without any depletion of quality. The reader, Judy Kaye, has the voice I would expect from Kinsey Millhone. Low-pitched, a tiny bit gravelly, and with oodles of inflection in all the right places. It was easy to close my eyes and imagine a stage play before me with every character having their own voice.

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