A is for Alibi (Kinsey Millhone, #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

A is for Alibi (Kinsey Millhone #1)

3.78 of 5 stars 3.78  ·  rating details  ·  83,985 ratings  ·  2,214 reviews
PI Kinsey Milhone 32, in a pretty California town, gets her first case. Laurence Fife was a slick divorce lawyer and slippery ladies' man until someone killed him. Released from jail after 8 years, his wife Nikki wants the truth. But the trail is cold, and at the end is a chilling twist - a second eight-year-old murder and a brand new corpse.
Paperback, 320 pages
Published November 1st 2005 by St. Martin's Paperbacks (first published January 1st 1982)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about A is for Alibi, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about A is for Alibi

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg LarssonAnd Then There Were None by Agatha ChristieAngels & Demons by Dan BrownRebecca by Daphne du MaurierIn Cold Blood by Truman Capote
Best Crime & Mystery Books
25th out of 4,333 books — 9,950 voters
One for the Money by Janet EvanovichThe No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency by Alexander McCall SmithCrocodile on the Sandbank by Elizabeth PetersChocolate Chip Cookie Murder by Joanne FlukeThe Cat Who Could Read Backwards by Lilian Jackson Braun
Cozy Mystery Series
8th out of 404 books — 1,268 voters


More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Jen
Kinsey Millhone is a single female working as a private investigator in Santa Theresa, California. She is hired by Nikki Fife, the convicted murdered of Lawrence Fife (her husband), to find out who really killed him. Her investigation leads her into a series of other murders that seem to be connected.

I don't know if I can even justify one star on this book. I was at no point able to "connect" with Kinsey. I love a strong female character, but she does not fit that bill. She is crass which makes...more
Matthew
I read this book as part of an interdisciplinary course in law school entitled "Law in Literature." While the book was acceptable/average in terms of its overall plot, development, and color, my enjoyment of the novel came from the fact that until the last half of the book (when the protagonist - a female detective - sleeps with a man she is investigating) I hadn't realized that the main character was a woman. I thought of myself as suitably progressive when the novel described the main characte...more
Robert
Me and Kinsey on Santa Teresa Boulevard. And Las Vegas Boulevard. Sorry wrong decade, but I was having a nostalgic Paul Simon moment, and I just couldn’t turn it down. And yeah I figured I would use improper grammar and discreetly reference KINSEY AND ME: STORIES which I haven’t yet read and I may never get to based on my current TBR shelf and future book endeavors. For those of you curious about the Paul Simon reference that would be “Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard,” which graced the world...more
Tea Jovanović
Godinama sam pokušavala da nagovorim srpske izdavače da objavljuju ovu divnu autorku... Detektivski romani, a pritom i duhoviti i zabavni... I uvek sam dobijala isti odgovor... "Problem su naslovi... Autorka ide po abecedi... Prvi naslov ne bi bio problem, a šta s drugim i ostalim naslovima..." Svesrdnu pomoć pružao mi je i Zvonimir Majdak (preko koga se završavaju autorska prava), ali nismo uspeli... U Hrvatskoj je prevedeno nekoliko naslova, ali se izdavači nisu marketinški pretrgli tako da ni...more
Jim
It was entertaining in a mundane way. The reading by Judy Kaye was pretty good, too. To quote John Prine, it was "Pretty good, not bad. I can't complain, but actually, everything was pretty much the same." IOW, it was as standard a mystery thriller as I've ever read. Nothing to rant or rave about, which makes it eminently forgettable, yet still enjoyable enough.

The heroine, Kinsey, is a private detective who is hired to look into an old murder by the woman who served time for the crime. Grafton'...more
James Thane
This is the book that introduced Kinsey Millhone and helped inaugurate a new era in crime fiction when female investigators like Millhone and Sara Paretsky's V. I. Warshawski could go toe-to-toe with the bad guys and more than hold their own with their male counterparts like Spenser, Sam Spade and Philip Marlowe.

Millhone has a modest solo practice as a P.I. that she runs out of a small office in the fictional town of Santa Teresa, California. Orphaned as a child and twice divorced, she lives a q...more
Kelly
I won't bother to review the whole A through S (so far) series, and I doubt I could remember my reaction to each individual book in any case. As a whole, though, I love this series. Sure, it's total pulp fiction, but it's enjoyable nonetheless. First, the series is based in Santa Teresa, CA, a very thinly disguised Santa Barbara, which makes it great fun for anyone who's lived in SB. (My *favorite* alteration is that Mission Street become Missile Street!) Second, Kinsey Millhone is your prototyp...more
Crystal Starr Light
A is for Aggravating, Anguish, Awful, Apathetic...take your pick
I had heard the name Sue Grafton bantered around. After my aunt recommended it, I decided to check out her infamous alphabet series.
Kinsey Millhone is a former cop, a twice divorcee, and a private investigator. Nikki Fife, a woman accused, convicted, and imprisoned for murdering her philandering husband, Laurence Fife, has just been released on parole and wants her name cleared. She comes to Kinsey, who takes the case and begins the...more
Wayne
A good book, not great. I found the little details she added to the story, like getting a cheesburger at McDonalds, annoying and pointless. There was little action, little character development. But then, this was a very early book. Given Grafton's popularity now she has either improved in her story telling or the general reading public is more easily entertained than I thought.
Some day I will have to try out one of her more recent novels.
Rebecca Golden
I started reading Grafton's Kinsey Milhone books about eighteen years ago. These books transcend genre. Grafton also came up with the very clever idea of keeping the same timeframe for the entire series. The books start in the early eighties. It's probably 1987 as of T is for Trespass. I know I need to read more than genre fiction and memoirs, but this series will keep me from my giant backlog of "quality" books for a long, long time.
Srividya
I had heard a lot about Sue Grafton books and wanted to see for myself what the buzz was all about. I have to admit that I was sorely disappointed with this book. Supposedly a crime fiction, it was too descriptive for my tastes.

The story began 8 years ago when a divorce lawyer Lawrence Fife is murdered and his wife Nikki is accused and later convicted for this murder. She accepts her sentence and when out on parole 8 years later, decides to open the case and find out who the real murderer is. Ki...more
Steven
At first, I just thought it was a decent mystery, but as it picked up, I found I had to move it from my "liked" to my "really liked" pile because it was fast-paced and a decently twisty. Enough to make me read more in the series.
Kimberly
Eh I didn't really care for this book. Maybe I just couldn't identify with or really grasp the character of Kinsey. Maybe it was the cussing or the sex or the amount of alcohol she consistently consumed. And who starts a romance that way? I'll interview you 2x in the course of my job and then u ask me to dinner and grab your crotch to tell me we are having sex later. Wow what a turn on. Seriously? Very low class and way to trusting for someone who is a private detective and a former cop. I'm gon...more
Cerji
Sue Grafton writes the alphabetically titled Kinsey Millhone series. I have read them all, and really enjoy Kinsey. She is a private investigator in California with very eclectic friends and very strange food preferences. Kinsey's friendship with her kind elderly landlord is sweet and funny. The plots are creative, character-driven and most have a great ending twist. Grafton's books tend to be a quick read and incorporate many of the same characters again and again. This is another writer whose...more
Kim
I've read every single one of Sue Grafton's mysteries through R. They're quick, fun, not usually too violent or graphically bloody, and exciting enough they keep me wanting to read more. I've never been disappointed. Fiercely independant private investigator Kinsey Millhone almost always gets herself stuck in a few tight spots, and has at least one close call in every book. I'm not going to rate everyone because I would give them all 4 stars. They're really that consistently good!!
Amy Bunn
Obviously I'm missing something. I work at a library, and Sue Grafton's books are very popular; many readers have praised them and urged me to pick one up. Since I've recently been trying to expose myself to a few new bestselling authors, I decided to give a Grafton a try, and being the anal person that I am, I chose to start at the very beginning of her Kinsey series.

So is that where I went wrong? This book just didn't catch my interest in any real way. I keep scouring the online reviews, searc...more
Claire Grasse
I'm a big Sue Grafton fan, possibly because I'm a lot like Kinsey myself (in attitude more than in situation). I've read all of her novels several times... they're my "go-to" books when I want some brain candy without having to put a lot of effort into unraveling plot or character.

At the risk of sounding prim and old-maidish, I really could have done without the sex scenes in this book... in my mind a good murder mystery should be able to stand on its own two feet without forcing us all into th...more
Kayla
A IS FOR ALIBI by Sue Grafton

My Thoughts:
I am very glad that my first mystery novel was A FOR ALIBI, because it was an awesome read. I love Sue Grafton's writing style, it flows nicely and makes it an easy novel to get zoned into. The mystery itself was amazing; being an addict of crime dramas and true crime TV shows (when I watch TV that is) I thought there was no way I'd get good suspense from a novel. I was wrong. I had myself guessing the killer, and thinking what would happen next; and whet...more
Laurie Fiess
How great is Kinsey Millhone?!!?? I love her. I love her total lack of style--she cuts her own hair, with fingernail scissors!--and more than anything, I love her house. It's ultra-small, just room enough for a single gal who basically just goes there to sleep, eat a peanut butter and pickle sandwich, shower, check messages or pay bills, and head out again. She has the best landlord/neighbor/friend imaginable, a lovely octogenarian named Henry (well, right there I love him, because Henry is one...more
Carol
I think that I’m rather late getting on the Sue Grafton bandwagon! “‘A’ is For Alibi” is the very first of the Sue Grafton alphabet series. It introduces Kinsey Millhone, a great, strong female private eye.

For fun, I’ll look at this mystery through the lens of Ronald Knox’s “Ten Commandments” of mystery fiction. Ronald Knox was what was called in the 20's and 30's ‘a man of letters’. He was greatly interested in Sherlock Holmes, and wrote several mysteries himself.

Commandment #1: The criminal m...more
Lucy
If I could give this book a negative star I would. I hate not being able to finish a book, but trying to finish this book was absolute torture for me. I made it to page 118 and I've had enough. When reading a book one should not sigh in exhaustion before picking it up again to read more chapters.

Now let me tell you what I hated about this story. For one it's about 30% storyline and 70% useless descriptions that no one cares about. This is one of those books where the author wastes so much time d...more
Robby
Apr 05, 2013 Robby rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: All Mystery Fans
Recommended to Robby by: GOODREADS FRIENDS
You know (of course you don't); I put off reading anything by Sue Grafton for a couple of reasons: (1) Those A,B,C,... titles; well they just didn't seem to work for me; (2) The series had been around for so long I just thought, what's the point of starting now. My loss on both counts. After reading my first alphabet (A) titled book by Ms. Grafton starring "Kinsey Millhone" (private investigator) I must say - "Fantastic". I am now glad it has been a long running series because I now have many mo...more
Rauf
Sep 13, 2009 Rauf rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Everyone
If you're one of those people who love bland murder mysteries that aren't heavy on car chases and blood and violence, where the detective fell in love with the one who may or may not be the suspect -- think the Hallmark channel, or Veronica Mars -- then A is for Alibi is the book for you.

It is bland. The murder case was 8-year old. The trail was cold. Our P.I, Kinsey Millhone, spent most of her time in this book travelling from one city to the next, interviewing witnesses, where nothing happened...more
K
I think I've read a few too many books like this, something which is perhaps unfair to hold against this book. But I have to say that as I approached the final climactic scene, I was reminded of my husband and sister-in-law as they reminisced about watching old reruns of "The Lone Ranger" when they were kids. Every time the Lone Ranger said, "Tonto, go to town," it was an obvious cue that the plot was advancing because, every time Tonto went to town, he got into trouble. And sure enough, toward...more
David B
It takes a superior writer with excellent characterization skills to keep things lively when the plot basically consists of our PI hero conducting an interminable series of one-on-one interviews. Kinsey Millhone is not a very distinctive character here and author Sue Grafton buries her inquiries in an avalanche of trivial detail. Every time Kinsey goes somewhere, Grafton gives us driving directions that would do Google Maps proud. We read about the decor of everyplace Kinsey visits and learn the...more
Maurean
I’ve only recently discovered Kinsey Millhone, and while I’m very late to do so, its true what they say - better late, than never. This is a series that I will continue to follow.

For anyone else who is unfamiliar with Sue Grafton’s alphabet series, these soft-boiled mysteries follow Kinsey Millhone, a 30-something, no-nonsense, one-time cop turned PI as she navigates herself through one case after another.

In the first installment, “A is for Alibi”, we get a feel for Kinsey as she investigates...more
Tabby Kat
'A' is for Alibi," by Sue Grafton, is narrated in the first-person by California private investigator Kinsey Millhone--a twice-divorced, childless 32-year old woman who lives in a one-room "bachelorette" apartment. Kinsey is hired by Nikki Fife, a woman who had been sent to prison after being convicted of murdering her husband. Nikki maintains her innocence and wants Kinsey to find the real killer--eight years after the murder. This assignment leads to deceit and danger for the sleuth.
This is a...more
Gail
Listened to this on book tape downloaded from the library because I wasn't feeling good and had to stay in bed. Not a very believable murder mystery that I will probably forget all about listening to, but it was entertaining while I was sick.

"Eight years after her release from prison, Nikki Fife hired California Private Investigator, Kinsey Millhone, to find out who killed her husband and framed her for the crime. As Kinsey investigates, she finds out that almost everyone wanted Mr. Fife dead, i...more
Sheri
"A" is For Alibi (Sue Grafton)
This is the first in the Kinsey Millhouse mystery series. Kinsey is a private investigator. She takes on the case of an ex-convict named Nikki. Nikki was sent to prison for 8 years charged with the murder of her philandering husband, Laurence fife. With his wild ways many people could be suspect.

Soon Kinsey finds herself in a complex web with a lot of players, and a few more people end up dead. A page turner for sure, with secrets , some twits and a surprise ending....more
Bunnybodel
This is another case where I've read the whole series so far (T is for Trespass most recently), but I don't want to take the time to review each one. I wouldn't be able to anyway, I like the whole series. They're all mystery books where Kinsey Millhone solves a case of some kind. They aren't too heavy on her personal life, but throught the course of the series I feel like I've really gotten to know and love her. She's the coolest. All independent and full of spunk, how could you resist her?
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Can I read these out of order? 23 214 Aug 14, 2014 06:50PM  
The Women's Myste...: A is for Alibi 27 128 Jul 17, 2014 03:49AM  
The Writer's Cafe: A is for Enchilada 18 33 Jan 20, 2014 04:59PM  
Writers- Are- Us: A is for Enchilada 22 6 Jan 20, 2014 04:59PM  
Women in Detectiv...: A is for Alibi 2 6 Oct 21, 2013 06:59PM  
  • Blood Shot (V.I. Warshawski, #5)
  • Edwin of the Iron Shoes (Sharon McCone, #1)
  • Dead In The Water (Kate Shugak, #3)
  • A Trouble of Fools (A Carlotta Carlyle Mystery #1)
  • Janet Evanovich Three and Four Two-Book Set (Stephanie Plum, #3-4)
  • Kat Scratch Fever (Kat Colorado, #8)
  • Desert Heat (Joanna Brady, #1)
  • Blind Descent (Anna Pigeon, #6)
  • Murder on the Iditarod Trail (Alex Jensen / Jessie Arnold, #1)
9559
Connect with Sue herself on Facebook! www.facebook.com/suegrafton

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
More about Sue Grafton...
M is for Malice (Kinsey Millhone, #13) J is for Judgment (Kinsey Millhone, #10) K is for Killer (Kinsey Millhone, #11) B is for Burglar  (Kinsey Millhone, #2) C is for Corpse  (Kinsey Millhone, #3)

Share This Book

“Except for cases that clearly involve a homicidal maniac, the police like to believe murders are committed by those we know and love, and most of the time they're right - a chilling thought when you sit down to dinner with a family of five. All those potential killers passing their plates.” 48 likes
“You try to keep life simple but it never works, and in the end all you have left is yourself.” 18 likes
More quotes…