Discussion Forums - Mystery & Thrillers

Topic: Should I start the Sue Grafton A-Z books?????

Club rule - Please, if you cannot be courteous and respectful, do not post in this forum.
  Unlock Forum posting with Annual Membership.
Subject: Should I start the Sue Grafton A-Z books?????
Date Posted: 1/5/2008 12:54 AM ET
Member Since: 9/10/2006
Posts: 79
Back To Top

I want to read new authors in 2008 and I keep seeing the A - Z books or not sure what letter she is on. But just wanted to know if it is worth all the trouble trying to get them. I like to have several on hand so when I finish one I could start the next. I don't know anyone who has read anything by her, so I need some advice...


thank you


Date Posted: 1/5/2008 1:54 AM ET
Member Since: 7/31/2006
Posts: 14,634
Back To Top

I've enjoyed them but haven't read any since P I think and feel like I've forgotten the storyline already!  I sorta want to wait til she finishes them so Ic an get them all and read them together! Some I ididn't like as well as others but oh well life isn't perfect! They just were't all 'happy endings' but she writes well...seem slike the main character runs every day but eats quarterpounders..might be wrong but seems like this is what she does. and has an old landlord with great legs who can cook!

Date Posted: 1/5/2008 9:21 PM ET
Member Since: 12/30/2006
Posts: 929
Back To Top

I just finished T Is For Trespass, the newest one, and have really enjoyed the series.  I agree that some are better than others but still a good read.  And yes, she does run and loves quarter pounders.

Date Posted: 1/5/2008 10:07 PM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
Back To Top

You don't have to read them in order.  I think I have the M one on my shelf. I listened to most of them on audio. 

Date Posted: 1/9/2008 3:57 PM ET
Member Since: 8/10/2005
Posts: 4,603
Back To Top

You don't have to read them in order, though I always prefer to read them that way myself...the "alphabet" series featuring Kinsey Millhone is one of my favorites, and one of the few long-term series that I'm always caught up with and waiting for the next book. I have T is for Trespass ordered (just came up from my WL here!) so hopefully will be enjoying it in a couple of weeks. :) There are some that are better than others, but I couldn't tell you which ones...don't remember specifics.

I would not read them one after another without a break between them, though--that's the fastest way for me to grow weary of any series, even one that starts out great that I enjoy.


Date Posted: 1/11/2008 7:54 PM ET
Member Since: 12/17/2007
Posts: 1
Back To Top

I've read most of them and started with G is for Gumshoe.  It hooked me and I scoured my library for whatever I could find.  I tried to stay in order but it wasn't necessary.   I think the reason 'G' hooked me was because I had been to the area of California that was being investigated.  If you'ved lived in or visited parts of California, I think you'll enjoy them even more.  Grafton stays very true to the essence and geography of California

Date Posted: 1/13/2008 12:35 PM ET
Member Since: 1/9/2006
Posts: 760
Back To Top

I've been reading Grafton since she first started out - well before she became a "hot" author. 

I disagree with those that say you don't need to read them in order.  Each book has a bit more character development.  One thing to remember about her books is that the character and storyline aren't keeping up with the current times.  Each book picks up where the last one left off.  So even though the first book was published in 1982 and the latest one just came out in 2007, the character hasn't aged 25 years.

I've enjoyed her books, but I think she's sort of run out of steam. 

I tend to recommend that people check out Marcia Muller's series more often than Grafton.  Muller's character has kept up with current times.

Date Posted: 1/13/2008 1:22 PM ET
Member Since: 2/2/2006
Posts: 2,246
Back To Top

I read them as they came out, so perforce they were in order for me. Kinsey does develop as the books go on, gets a little harder in some ways, finds some shades of gray in her world and her ethics in some ways. Her tight little controlled world expands, she lets a few more people in, and that changes her a bit. Some of the books are definitely stronger than others, and I tend to favor the older books, say  A through F.

For me, part of the charm of the books is that time is stuck in the early 1980s, so Kinsey can't just whip out a cell phone and make a call for help, or get her answers from the internet. I think Grafton chose well when she chose not to keep up with current time.

Kinsey reminds me of a woman I knew many years ago who had been orphaned early and spent much of her life alone, spending a lot of energy keeping the shields up so that no one could hurt her again.

This is probably a picky point, but it matters to someone like me: Grafton doesn't make a lot of errors in grammar or usage, and she cares enough about her product that there aren't dozens of howlers of continuity errors in the books. She takes pride in her work. I'm seeing that kind of pride less and less in the mystery genre, and I appreciate Grafton's ... can't think of the word ... craftsmanship.


Date Posted: 1/13/2008 2:57 PM ET
Member Since: 4/7/2007
Posts: 335
Back To Top

Grafton's books satisfy an occasional desire for a quick read.  Her Kinsey books are perfect for me because I don't like CSI-style forensics and gore.  Also, I like character-driven mysterious as opposed to straight plot.  Although she writes according to a formula, I think Sue Grafton's mysteries are unpredictable enough to be worth reading. 

To me, the best reason to read them in order is to be able to keep track of which ones I've already read!  I cannot tell you how many times I've picked up a book by Robert Parker, my other favorite mystery writer, only to discover that I've already read that Spencer novel.

Date Posted: 1/13/2008 9:03 PM ET
Member Since: 9/10/2006
Posts: 79
Back To Top

Thanks for all the in put. I do have books A-G. I plan to start them soon. I am finishing up another series and have one to go. I think I will enjoy them.

Date Posted: 1/17/2008 1:21 AM ET
Member Since: 9/18/2007
Posts: 4,272
Back To Top

I've enjoyed A-S so far. T just came in the mail a few days ago.

Date Posted: 1/17/2008 1:25 PM ET
Member Since: 4/2/2007
Posts: 180
Back To Top

I just finished "T". It was a quick read. I always enjoy this series.

Date Posted: 1/21/2008 2:04 PM ET
Member Since: 1/10/2006
Posts: 1,078
Back To Top

I enjoyed the series as well as my daughter too and  we did read them in order. They are a nice quick read. I found that I enjoy them better if I don't read more than two right after each other.  And like Lester, I enjoyed the first ones the best. Her latest one is on my wishlist.

Date Posted: 1/21/2008 2:34 PM ET
Member Since: 11/28/2007
Posts: 19
Back To Top

I was thinking of beginning this series too.  What makes a-f the best in the series?

Date Posted: 1/21/2008 4:28 PM ET
Member Since: 2/2/2006
Posts: 2,246
Back To Top

Mandy, I prefer the older ones in the series because - to me - the plotlines are tighter, the writing is tighter, and the plots are more inventive. Also, in the earlier books, we're just discovering Kinsey, learning about her, wondering what makes her tick, finding out little by little. That's true of any long series.

I enjoy Sue Grafton's writing, but - to me - there in the middle, she ran out of steam, ran out of ideas, got bored, plots a little looser, easier to predict who the killer was. I just didn't enjoy them as much.

However, the last few - R, S, T - have tightened up again. Except for the ending of T, which I thought was not a good ending but was extremely well written, if that makes any sense, she is back to her previous quality.


Date Posted: 1/27/2008 2:43 PM ET
Member Since: 6/30/2007
Posts: 1,837
Back To Top

I've read them all in order, except for the newest one - she's up to the letter T.  This is a FABULOUS series - one of my all-time favorites!  My only complaint is that Sue doesn't write faster, LOL!

Date Posted: 2/3/2008 7:43 PM ET
Member Since: 5/10/2005
Posts: 2,392
Back To Top

I've only made it up to J, and I left J on the bus.  Need to request a new copy so I can move along.  Only have through L, I think.

I have enjoyed them quite a bit, and also like the fact it's a strong female lead.  I hadn't picked them up for that reason, but most mysteries seem to either be cozy female leads or strong male leads.   I know there are a couple other series with female PIs, but they are the minority.

They are to me a noir-type mystery.  A bit dark, a bit grimey, a bit sarcastic, but not overly gorey or nasty.  Really nice fit between the fluffy and the I won't read.  Give me something to get my teeth in without turning my stomach.

Reminded me of the Parker Spenser novel I read, but I prefer Kinsey.