I have got as far as ‘L for lawless’, the alphabetic instalment of Kinsey Malone’s Private Eye detective series. I am aiming for a ‘Grafton day’ where I can read a good few of them and get through the books.
Having read some but not all of Raymond Chandler’s Phillip Marlowe novels, Kinsey Malone is the eighties, non noir crime equivalent gumshoe. Yes, the novels are formulaic, they plod through procedural stages as Kinsey pootles through in her well loved and fairly pranged automobile. But they are readable. There is the ability to be transported away to the fictional town of Santa Therese where you meet the varied strata that make up the spectrum of the local populace.
Having arrived half way through the eighties. I have few salient memories of that era and graftons description stucco houses and parcels of lands, evokes images of papier mâché models that architects might build. Reading, it does feel as though Grafton was sat in the cabinet war rooms in London. Moving Kinsey, the bad guys and the plot along, as though she was discussing a game of ‘Risk’.
Even at the K stage, we don’t know much about Kinsey. Yeah, she’s been married twice. And one of them, is a feckless toad with musical tendencies. She lives in a shoebox outhouse thing built by her landlord Henry, who I always imagine to be one of the fellas from Goonies. Her family, of which there was a only one aunt; is now coming into the picture. Kinsey is skittish and hesitant about what she might uncover. So yeah, she can go rattle the closets of crooks to shake out the skeletons, but her own cupboard under the stairs has a very a sticky door. Being an ex-copper, Kinsey has a yeah but no relationship with the local police department. Guess that works, even Batman needed a copper and so did Angel in the Whedon-verse.