I've long been a fan of Sue Grafton's series which began in the early 80s. The books are in alphabetical order with the first being A is for Alibi. The sleuth is a private investigator, Kinsey Millhone who is a loner, lives in a garage apartment and barely makes ends meet. Unlike some series which tend to seem they are fulfilling a contract for a certain number of books, the Alphabet Series gets better with each mystery and U is for Undertow does not disappoint. Sue Grafton grounds the reader in the time and place and gives vivid descriptions which mysteries often sadly lack. It's easy to picture both her surroundings and her characters.
Another aspect of Ms. Grafton's writing that she covers with ease, is repeated characters. A book I recently read in a series gave me details of every story from a previous book each character had been in, what happened and practically their whole life story. In this series, she starts off with "My name is Kinsey Millhone. I'm a private detective, female, age thirty-seven . . ." Other characters are described just enough to give you an idea of who they are. If you haven't read any of Sue Grafton's books and like mysteries, then pick up a copy. They don't have to be read in order, but it gives you a better insight into her characters if you do.
Alphabet Series listed here.
From the cover:
It's April, 1988, a month before Kinsey Millhone's 38th birthday and she's alone in her office doing paperwork when a young man arrives unannounced. He has a preppy air about him and looks as if he'd be carded if he tried to buy booze, but Michael Sutton is 27, an unemployed college drop-out. Twenty-one years before, a four-year old girl disappeared. A recent reference to her kidnapping has triggered a flood of memories. Sutton now believes he stumbled on her lonely burial when he was six years old. He wants Kinsey's help in locating the child's remains and finding the men who killed her. It's a long shot but he's willing to pay cash up front and Kinsey agrees to give him one day. As her investigation unfolds, she finds out Michael Sutton has an uneasy relationship with the truth. In essence, he's the boy who cried wolf. Is his current story true or simply one more in a long line of fabrications?