Book Review: “U is for Undertow” by Sue Grafton

u is for undertow

Genre: Mystery

3.5-Watertowers TracyReaderDad Book Reviews

April 6, 1988

Kinsey Millhone is a 37 year old private detective, and ex-cop, in Santa Teresa, CA (if it were real, it would very close to, if not, Santa Barbara).

Sitting in her office she hears a knock on the door.  Michael Sutton has been sent to Kinsey by Detective Cheney Phillips with a possible lead on a missing girl cold case from 1967.

In July 1967, 4 year old Mary Claire Fitzhugh was kidnapped for ransom from her parents home in the Horton Ravine neighborhood of Santa Teresa. Horton Ravine is the ritzy area of Santa Teresa. The ransom was paid but never picked up and Mary Claire’s body was never found.  In 1988, she still missing.

Michael Sutton remembers something that might be related to this case. He remembers, as a 6 year old playing in a friends backyard, that he stumbled across two “pirates” digging for “treasure” in the woods behind the house, and that there is a bundle on the ground next to the hole.

21 years later, an adult Michael realizes that his childhood “pirate” memory, is coincident to the kidnapping of the Mary Claire kidnapping,  and he would like Kinsey to take a day to see what she can find.  Specifically, could that “bundle” have been Mary Claire?

Kinsey reluctantly agrees to take the one day case for a $500 fee and finds the first clues that lead to a tangled web of deceit, lies, hippies in a yellow bus, drugs, drinking, a wolf dog, mental illness, and entitled boys….now men…..who will kill to keep their secret.

To find out what happens, you will have to read the book.  🙂

“U is for Undertow” is another interesting Kinsey Millhone mystery where she sifts the numerous clues to find that one thread that unravels the entire case.  It sparkles when Kinsey is front and center but drags a bit during the chapters of background information on the other characters (that may be my own prejudice, however).  Not Sue Grafton’s best, but, still a lot of fun.

Sadly, I only have 4 more Kinsey Millhone books to read as the alphabet ends at “Y”.  😦

I will take my time.



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