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U Is for Undertow    by Sue Grafton Amazon.com order for
U Is for Undertow
by Sue Grafton
Order:  USA  Can
Putnam, 2010 (2009)
Hardcover, Paperback, CD, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

I just realized that I had missed Sue Grafton's twenty-first alphabetical novel U Is for Undertow, published in 2009. Now that I have read it, I must look up number twenty-two. When you think about it, it's an exceptional mystery writer who can keep a series going for so long and not get burned out. Grafton has gotten high praise for her work, even to being named a Grand Master by the Mystery Writers of America.

It's April 1988 when Kinsey Millhone is about to turn thirty-eight. A young man implores her to help him find what he believes is the burial place of a four-year-old girl who had been kidnapped more than twenty years ago. He is sure he stumbled on two men digging her grave when he was just six years old.

Kinsey feels it's an impossible job, but on reflection, agrees to look into it for a day 24 hours. No more. She agrees to take it on because the young man, twenty-year-old Michael Sutton, seems distraught. And she's a softie at heart.

Miraculously, Kinsey gets on the trail of this old case. Her methods are intriguing and prove productive. Kinsey manages to return to over twenty years ago and, without a cell phone or a GPS, clear up the cold case. Ingenious plot. While reading it, I thought this was one that would defeat our Kinsey, but Grafton pulls the answers out of her detective hat and wins the day.

I sure wish I could turn back time the way Grafton is able to. U Is for Undertow is a fine read.

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