X by Sue Grafton: Book Review

Title: X

Author: Sue Grafton

Genre: Mystery, Thriller

X is the only book in the alphabet novels by Sue Grafton that is simply a letter. The alphabet series feature Private Investigator Kinsey Millhone, from the letter A through Y. Z could not be written because the prolific and popular detective novelist at the end of 2017.

X seemed the right book to read from her famed series, partly because I felt that Kinsey must be a well developed character at book#24 and mainly it was the only one available that I could borrow.


Kinsey Millhone, a Private Investigator in the fictional city of Santa Teresa, California is solving cases with a lot of skill and aplomb with a bit of luck thrown in.

When a wealthy, high society woman asks Kinsey to track down her illegitimate son, an ex-convict, she agrees but in a matter of days, Kinsey realises that she has been ripped off. At the same time, her path crosses a dangerous criminal, a psychopath, who has a trail of destructing lives and yet manages to evade the law. Kinsey deconstructs the twin mysteries (in fact there is another one of water pilferage and a much more entertaining one) at a pace that makes the book a page turner.

What works well

Kinsey is a well rounded character, capable, courageous with a sense of humour. The others who cross her path are very interesting. Edna, the unlikely crook, living next door to the intelligent and alert octagenarian Henry is my favourite. Pete Wolinsky, the dead detective is certainly someone I would like to make acquaintance with and I guess I need to go back a few books in the alphabet series for that.

The pace is good, the thrill factor high. There is nothing very macabre and the dark crimes of stalking and murder are tempered with the lighter art thefts, illegal occupation of property and domestic squabbles.

What does not work so well

There is a fair bit of luck that comes to Kinsey’s aid while she is working and some of the events and clues are just too convenient. While I don’t want my detectives to work too hard and against the odds at all times, certain things look too easy in this book.


A real page turner of a thriller. Good read for a lazy afternoon.

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