RARA-AVIS: Grafton

From: Carrie Pruett ( pruettc@hotmail.com)
Date: 23 Aug 2001

Juri wrote:

>I've now read my first Graftons and I must say that I quite liked them
>(well, it was only the first novel and one short story, in "The Mammoth
>Book of Private Detectives, but I intend to read more). Grafton seems
> >tohave developed a balance between the supposed harshness of the PI
> >character and her actual softness.

Hmm, I've never seen anything particularly "soft" in Kinsey, I think her toughness is pretty genuine. I guess in the first novel there is a rather dopey love-interest thing going on, but as I recall that doesn't exactly end lovey-dovey. I wouldn't really call Grafton hard-boiled, though the early books are probably a little closer, and she does do the laconic PI "voice" pretty well. I think this series gets a little stale around D and E, gets somewhat better for H-J, and then stagnates again. The main thing is that Kinsey is the only main character who continues throughout the books - which seems OK for a short series, not so good for a long one. This may actually make her closer to classic hard-boiled, but it only works if the mysteries themselves are interesting, which in the later books they increasingly aren't.

I do like Grafton, but got mired somewhere in the middle of "M" (more love interest stuff, which Grafton just doesn't write very well) and though I'll eventually finish the series, I'm in no big hurry.


"Is that what you do for a living?" she asked. "Find folks?"
"Sometimes," I said. "Other times I just look."
-James Crumley, "The Last Good Kiss"

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