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S is for Silence (Kinsey Millhone #19)

3.89  ·  Rating Details  ·  17,825 Ratings  ·  801 Reviews
The nineteenth novel in Sue Grafton's ever popular 'alphabet' series featuring PI Kinsey Millhone.

Just after Independence Day in July 1953 Violet Sullivan, a local good time girl living in Serena Station Southern California, drives off in her brand new Chevy and is never seen again. Left behind is her young daughter, Daisy, and Violet's impetuous husband, Foley, who had be
Paperback, 368 pages
Published November 28th 2006 by G.P. Putnam's Sons (first published January 1st 2005)
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Mar 02, 2016 Dana rated it really liked it
This book is different. Grafton employs a couple of strategies that are often used in mysteries today, the concept of the protagonist taking on a "cold case" (which Kinsey has done before) and the use of flashbacks...and the type of flashback that has a new chapter simply taking place in the past, making the cold case characters come alive as Kinsey investigates the in "the future". Grafton's future, the timeframe where she sets Kinsey, is 1987, and the disappearance she is tracking occurred in ...more
In this the 19th in the Kinsey Millhone Alphabet Series by Sue Grafton, Kinsey is asked to investigate a cold case. What happened to Wife, Mother & town floozy Violet Sullivan, who disappeared 35 years ago? Most people still around from then, believe one of two scenarios. She left town with one of her many male “friends” or she was murdered by her abusive drunk husband Foley.
Not as much Kinsey in this book, as instead of being completely from her point of view, S jumps back & forth betwe
Jun 13, 2007 LARRY rated it it was amazing
Shelves: whodunit
As posted in []:

Ever since *A is for Alibi*, I've been hooked to the Kinsey Millhone series. Therefore, Sue Grafton became one of my favorite authors. Throughout the series, some were great and some were not so great. Nonetheless, I was extremely excited to get the paperback edition of *S is for Silence*. I read this book every opportunity I could take advantage of.

It's 1987. Kinsey has been hired by Daisy Sullivan to find out whatever happened to her mother, Violet, who di
E.M. Lynley
May 06, 2012 E.M. Lynley rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
2.5 but I'll round up to three stars.

It's been a few years since I read one of Grafton's books. I read R is for Ricochet when it came out, then nothing till last week.

I liked all the flashbacks, even though it felt a bit like whiplash moving between POV characters. But once I got used to it, I decided it was nicely done. I think Grafton managed to capture a lot of interesting characters and keep them fairly well defined. My favorite was Kathy, who starts off as a rich, selfish meddling teen and
This was exactly what I was in the mood for! I have always enjoyed this series and it's so great that Grafton is still keeping me so entertained. This one really checked all my boxes. I loved all the flashbacks and that the mystery involved the town tramp. It was also great that I thought for sure I had it figured out and then I was wrong. What!?! HeeHee! I just loved this one and after 19 books, that's really saying something.

Jo Ann Sharkey
Oct 01, 2007 Jo Ann Sharkey rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone who loves mysteries and Sue Grafton
Shelves: favorites
I love Sue Grafton! I bought this book a few weeks ago and have been saving it as my plane read for my trip to Scotland. Grafton never disappoints. The style of this book was different from her typical writing in that Grafton uses flashback techniques to tell her story. While many writers might reveal too much or give us clues to enable the reader to figure out "who did it," Grafton keeps us hanging with just enough information. I was in suspense until the very last chapter.

I will say that I mi
May 22, 2014 Hallie rated it it was ok
By far and away my least favourite of the Kinsey Millhone books. (All right, to be honest, I have only the vaguest of memories of all except the last. Still, I can't believe that I'd have read all those other books if they'd been like this one.) This had problems in several ways, and probably just one of them would have been enough to make me dislike the book, but combined it was pretty terrible. Digital audio loan from the library, thankfully, and at first I kept reading because I thought the p ...more
Randee Baty
Jun 12, 2013 Randee Baty rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed, mystery-pi
Fans of Sue Grafton will say that she never writes the same book twice and I agree with this but in S is Silence she definitely harkens back to a couple of her previous stories. The story immediately reminded me of Q is for Quarry and N is for Noose. That is not to say that I didn’t enjoy the book. I did. But for the first time I felt she was recycling ideas.

Kinsey is hired to find out what happened to Violet Sullivan 30-some years ago. She disappeared without a trace leaving a 7 year old daught
Skye Skye
Dec 27, 2014 Skye Skye rated it liked it
I always read Sue Grafton's novel for sheer enjoyment; Kinsey Millhone is a breezy, neat and avant-garde protagonist whose tactics make me smile. However, S is for Silence, is a departure from the norm, and my thoughts are ambivalent.

The plot surrounds a long-ago disappearance, and Kinsey is called in to investigate. At the onset of the novel, flash backs to the early '50s are employed, and for the most part, Grafton does this easily using grace and accuracy. However, in many cases, too much tim
Benjamin Thomas
May 31, 2016 Benjamin Thomas rated it really liked it
The 19th book in the Kinsey Millhone series proved once again that the author is not content to simply repeat the formula of earlier novels and rest on her laurels. This time, Kinsey is hired to solve a cold case of a missing person named Violet Sullivan who disappeared 34 years previously. Most people assume Violet is dead but Violet’s daughter holds out hope that she simply ran away from her abusive husband and so hires Kinsey to close the loop.

The author uses quite a few flash back chapters,
Jun 03, 2014 Anne rated it really liked it
What a hoot...when the murderer was revealed ....geesh...I had to think about who that person was!!! Perhaps a bit too much wine!! LOL Another good read!!
aPriL is sometimes feral
It is 1987, and PI Kinsey Millhone arrives in Serena Station prepared to uncover old secrets and disturb honest citizens. Her new client, Daisy Sullivan, has decided the disappearance of her mother, the neighborhood sexpot, in 1953, and the lingering suspicion that her father, Foley, an alcoholic, had something to do with the disappearance, has become an unbearable taint on her life that she has been unable to move past.

Violet Sullivan had her way with every important businessman in the little
Pris robichaud
Jan 04, 2009 Pris robichaud rated it really liked it

"S" Is For Super, 6 Jan 2006

"When Liza Mellincamp thinks about the last time she saw Violet Sullivan, what comes most to mind is the color of Violet's Japanese silk kimono, a shade of blue that Liza later learned was called "cerulean" a word that wasn't even in her vocabulary when she was fourteen years old."
Kinsey Millhorne is asked to help solve a thirty-four year old mystery. "What happened to Violet? She just disappeared." by her daughter, Daisy. Daisy has been unable to get past this loss
If the weather is cold and the wind is howling outside, why not settle down with a cup of hot chocolate and Sue Grafton's S is for Silence, another clever contribution to the Kinsey Millhone series. This pleasant little romp has Kinsey investigating the 1953 disappearance of a woman, Violet Sullivan, local legend and "town harlot" who was loved by few and despised by many. Everyone in town, it seems, has had some sort of involvement with Violet........and has their tale to tell.

The story is set
James Sajo
Feb 04, 2014 James Sajo rated it liked it
I do like Sue Grafton's style. This particular book had a cast of thoroughly unlikable characters, thus a frighteningly realistic story.
She adds plenty of small detail -- not so much in the description of trees and smells and that kind of thing so many authors (me included) try to incorporate -- but in processes such as digging very large holes with a bulldozer (something I guess most of us have never done). These sidebars of detail don't really add to the story, but are evidence of her terrific
Jun 04, 2010 Deb rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: no one
Shelves: mystery-thriller
If Grafton had been on the next letter, she could have called it T is for Trashy. I wanted a lighter, familiar read, what I got was a trashy, predictable read. You'd think by this point in the alphabet Grafton would have gotten the hang of character development. Not one character shows growth or redemption. Around page 200 I was ready to quit, I should have.
Terri Lynn
Sep 13, 2015 Terri Lynn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the best of Sue Grafton's Kinsey Millhone mysteries. She is writing one for each letter of the alphabet and it is taking decades! I love her writing and love the Kinsey character. This one has Kinsey asked to solve a 34 year old murder which she does but not without being threatened, attacked, almost killed, and having to kill someone nasty. It is almost orgasmicly pleasurable to read. Daisy drinks too much and has suffered from not knowing what her outrageous mother Violet's fate was wh ...more
Una Tiers
Nov 21, 2013 Una Tiers rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book, it packed with lies, unfairness and greed. This was a re-read and Kinsey's getting on my nerves.
Mar 26, 2015 BJ rated it really liked it
I love books that grab me from the get go, first sentence, first page. The books in this series, do not do that, but if I manage to make my way through the first 50 or so pages and get all the preliminaries out of the way, then I get to the part where it gets interesting and I don't really want to put it down. This was one of the better books in this series. Although I have liked most all of them, few have gone any higher than that. This one was a cold case, a woman comes to Kinsey wanting to fi ...more
Carly Thompson
One of the later books in the Kinsey Millhone series. In this book, Kinsey is hired to investigate a thirty year old disappearance of a young mother in Serena Station, California. The chapters move between Kinsey's investigation in 1987 and chapters about the characters in 1953. The chapters set in 1953 have a noirish tinge and help the reader understand the characters Kinsey is investigating better.

I listened to the book on audio and felt that the reader, Judy Kaye, did a very good job with th
As a long time follower of this 1980s time frame alphabet series, I was glad to have an excuse to pull out the next volume (for me) from my TBR. And Ms. Grafton did not fail me. In this one, PI Kinsey Millhone is asked to look into the disappearance of Violet Sullivan from her rural California town in 1953. The request is from Violet's now grown daughter, Daisy, and the tale encompasses Violet's wanton behavior and her abusive marriage. Kinsey begins the search by speaking to the people who reme ...more
Shelly - The Illustrated Librarian -
I am not a fan of mysteries. I have to state that up front. I had to read this book for a book club meeting I will be moderating.

I found "S" to be boring, and formulaic.

I did find the tragic figure of Violet somewhat interesting, however. She was a spark of life in an otherwise dull town. The spark disappeared one fine evening, and thus ensued the cycle of secrets that Kinsey Millhone has to sort out. Among them are love affairs, Violet's then-abusive husband, decades-old hurt feelings and brui
Karolyn Sherwood
Feb 02, 2012 Karolyn Sherwood rated it liked it
On what basis do we "grade" books? Literary merit? Writing level, e.g., absence of unnecessary adverbs? Plot strength and suspense? Sympathetic character development?

If you're reading this review, I'm guessing you fall into one of two categories: Those who like Sue Grafton novels and want to know how this one compares to the rest, or my goodreads friends who follow my reviews because you think I'm brilliant. If you fall into the first group, I won't be of much help. In my previous life (about 15
Jun 14, 2013 Genie rated it really liked it
It was the evening of July the 4th, 1953 and a big fireworks celebration was scheduled in the small town of Serena Station, California. Violet Sullivan, dressed to the nines and carrying Pomeranian dog in the straw travel bag, blew her seven-year-old daughter (Daisy) a kiss, climbed into her brand new Chevy Bel Air, backed out of the driveway and was never seen again.
Violet's husband filed a missing persons report. Local police investigated and discovered Violet had emptied a safe deposit box
mitchell k dwyer
Oct 06, 2012 mitchell k dwyer rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery, reviewed
It’s been thirty-five years since Violet Sullivan, a California housewife, disappeared. Residents of her small agricultural town of Santa Maria have different theories about what happened: some believe her abusive husband finally did her in, while others believe she picked up and left with one of her many lovers. None of the speculation has been of help to Daisy, Violet’s now-middle-aged daughter whose personal life has been tumultuous largely as a result of her mother’s disappearance. She hires ...more
Feb 23, 2009 Susy rated it really liked it
My last Kinsey Milhone was read by the end of 2003. At the time I was a bit fed up with the PI roaming South California in the 80s. Some friend got this book for me and I was pleasurably surprised. In fact a cold case, S sports many characters in the search of a woman who disappeared with her dog and a new car in 1953. Characterization is excellent; the mystery unfolds easily, with some chapters being reminiscences of what everyone was doing at the time. As always, Grafton is heavy on details bu ...more
Aug 09, 2011 Ann rated it liked it
Sue Grafton writes a solid mystery. How could anyone not enjoy time spent with private detective Kinsey Millhone? I haven't read one of Grafton's books for a long while and I did have a bit of trouble keeping all the male characters straight although that could reveal my lack of attention to details. I also suspect that this is the only book I have EVER read that used the word 'cattywumpus' in a sentence. That alone makes it special.

Still on my book shelf is "T is for Trespass". Since "V is for
May 13, 2010 Afsana rated it liked it
This was told slightly different from her usual.

Firstly this was a book regarding the dissapearance of a women over 30yrs back. Kinsey is hired by the daughter who needs to know what has happened to her mother

It seems that no one really liked her and alot of the men slept with her.

This was told partly through flashback from certain mens point of view when they had a event with the her ( but not as them telling Kinsey ) just for us readers so we had facts which showed us the lies that thes men we
Aug 21, 2016 Lizzy rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, mystery, series
Kinsey has to go back 35 years to discover what happened to Violet. Talks about a cold case. Of course things get uncovered and warm up to a hot finish. The flashbacks were a nice change of pace.
Oct 28, 2015 Darren rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another good book by this author. I now only have five books left that she has out in this series to read.
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Connect with Sue herself on Facebook!

Received the Shamus Award, "The Eye" (Lifetime achievement award) in 2003.

Family History:

Father: C.W. Grafton, born 1909, third son of Presbyterian Missionaries, born and raised in China, educated Presbyterian College, Clinton, South Carolina; practicing attorney in Louisville, Kentucky with a 40-year specialty in municipal bonds. Au
More about Sue Grafton...

Other Books in the Series

Kinsey Millhone (1 - 10 of 24 books)
  • A is for Alibi (Kinsey Millhone, #1)
  • B is for Burglar  (Kinsey Millhone, #2)
  • C is for Corpse  (Kinsey Millhone, #3)
  • D is for Deadbeat (Kinsey Millhone, #4)
  • E is for Evidence (Kinsey Millhone, #5)
  • F is for Fugitive (Kinsey Millhone, #6)
  • G is for Gumshoe  (Kinsey Millhone, #7)
  • H is for Homicide (Kinsey Millhone, #8)
  • I is for Innocent (Kinsey Millhone, #9)
  • J is for Judgment (Kinsey Millhone, #10)

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“He might be a man without character, but she was a woman without courage. Of the two, which was worse?” 10 likes
“She was the type who went to bars intent on conversation, while he was the type who went in hopes of being left alone.” 1 likes
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