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A is for Alibi

(Kinsey Millhone #1)

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  175,813 ratings  ·  5,371 reviews
A IS FOR AVENGER. A tough-talking former cop, private investigator Kinsey Millhone has set up a modest detective agency in a quiet corner of Santa Teresa, California. She's a twice-divorced loner with few personal possessions and fewer personal attachments but with a soft spot for underdogs and lost causes.

A IS FOR ACCUSED. That's why she draws desperate clients like Nikki
Paperback, 308 pages
Published November 1st 2005 by St. Martin's Press (first published April 15th 1982)
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Robin They are better in order as you learn more about the characters and relationships as the stories go along. If you are only reading for the mystery, I …moreThey are better in order as you learn more about the characters and relationships as the stories go along. If you are only reading for the mystery, I guess the order wouldn't matter.(less)
Eloise Sarah As the main character is a private investagator the first half is a little slow in terms of digging up information and plodding along. However the act…moreAs the main character is a private investagator the first half is a little slow in terms of digging up information and plodding along. However the action and twists and turns come about inthe last half of the book so stick with it!(less)

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Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at:

Two reviews in the same morning? I guess it’s your lucky day (ha-ha - NOT). And just look at that bright and shiny 1 Star rating. That should be a sure fire way to earn me some new friends. If you’re not interested in reading through my reasons behind not liking this book, here’s the Cliff’s Notes version of my reaction upon finishing . . .

Houston commercial photography

So the long story of how I began my relationship with Kinsey Millhone at this late date is a
Dec 07, 2007 rated it did not like it
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
Jan 07, 2012 rated it really liked it
4 stars to A is for Alibi by Sue Grafton, the first book in the Kinsey Millhone private investigator cozy mystery series. It's the book that started it all for me...

The opening lines of the book grab you when the narrator tells you that she killed a man. You want to know more about this situation. Then you get to know a little bit about Kinsey. Twice-divorced. 32. New to PI work. You already start to root for her as much as you ask questions about her former life.

In this one, i
Feb 27, 2019 rated it liked it
Wait, should I shelved this in "Historical Fiction"?
So, yeah, you can call me a trend-setter. I'm up on the hip scene of today. I know what is cool... or as you kids might say, I'm DTF. (That means Definitely Trendy and Fresh, right?)

Oh, I'm sure you are wrong Inigo Montoya. I'm very fleek and shit.

Alright, so I've had this book since childhood and decided now was the perfect time to read it. Yes, my TBR pile is slightly unruly....

I was okay with the idea that this was written in the 1980's, so
Sep 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
It's interesting that Kinsey Millhone and Vic Warshawski both appeared for the first time in the same year. I wonder why the market suddenly felt the need for two female P.I.s. It was a very good thing anyway!!!
Vic has been a favourite of mine for some time now but this is the first time I have tried this series by Sue Grafton and I did enjoy it. Kinsey's approach to detecting was reasonably realistic, I liked the old style feel to everything(was the 1980's really that long ago!) and the writin
Feb 13, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
For some dumb reason, I've been reading Sue Grafton's wonderful alphabet mystery series out of order. At any rate, A is what got them all started, and it's a corker of a story. I like Kinsey: tough, relentless, and empathetic. Hopefully, I'll return to the series very soon. They're addictive in a marvelous way. ...more
Kinsey Millhone case No. 1:
So it took me nearly a year to get a hold of the first book in this series; but I finally got to read it. Kinsey's debut book/case after opening her private investigator agency. It starts off with bang, with Kinsey fatally shooting someone! The book then goes back in time detailing the events that led to the shooting. Interesting debut for this character, and no doubt a refreshing take of the detective genre when first published. 6 out of 12.
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
Jul 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio
I began reading the 'alphabet 'series written by Sue Grafton when the first book, 'A is for Alibi' featuring private detective Kinsey Millhone, was published in 1982. Over the years, I continued to read each new offering in the series, with the exception of the last book written, 'Y is for Yesterday'. At the time of Sue Grafton's death in December 2017, I had not yet read this book. I decided that since so much time has gone by since the series started.. 37 years... that I would make a kind of p ...more
Sandy *The world could end while I was reading and I would never notice*
EXCERPT: My name is Kinsey Millhone. I 'm a private investigator, licensed by the state of California. I'm thirty-two years old, twice divorced, no kids. The day before yesterday I killed someone, and the fact weighs heavily on my mind.

A tough-talking former cop, private investigator Kinsey Millhone has set up a modest detective agency in a quiet corner of Santa Teresa, California. A twice-divorced loner with few personal possessions and fewer personal attachmen
Sep 25, 2007 rated it liked it
Shelves: mysteries
I think by the time I began reading the Grafton alphabet books she was on R or S... This first one was okay-- it's a great quick read for the beach or a few empty evenings. I think the series gets better with each book.

PS— Since Grafton’s passing, I feel compelled to go back to the series (I think I got thru H or I). Maybe next year.
James Thane
Mar 23, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
Edward Lorn
Jun 11, 2015 rated it it was ok
This spoiler is for my buddy read with Kells. Kells, if you would, please click on "view spoiler". Danke. (view spoiler)

I enjoyed this book for the most part. The writing doesn't feel too terribly dated, in fact the only thing that really stood out was that there was no
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
Erin *Proud Book Hoarder*
“My own mystery, unplumed, undetected, was sorted into files that were neatly labeled but really didn't say much.”

Kinsey Millhone, an average detective with a conscience and a relaxed lifestyle, lands a whopper of a case to open this first of many, many books. Her client's wishes? To find out who really killed her husband AFTER she's released from prison for doing the deed.

Mildly paced with other mediocre tension, the book mainly wins through the point of view of the detective. She's a down-to
Feb 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: crime, cosy-mystery
4.5 stars. Really surprised by how much I enjoyed this! It's dated of course, set and written in the 1980s, at the forefront of PI novels with ballsy female protagonists. I loved that no one had mobiles, but relied on a call service, and that case files were handwritten or typed. The case was a good one. I'm looking forward to continuing with this series. I believe the author died while writing the 'Z' story...a shame she didn't quite get to finish.. ...more
Louie Matos The Mustache
I have collected and read Sue Grafton novels for several years, but I read them out of order as I acquired them. This year, I intend to read them in order. A is for Alibi is the first of the Kinsey Millhone novels. Kinsey is a tough, twice-divorced, former cop with her own detective agency situated adjacent to an insurance company in Santa Teresa, California. In this first installment, we get acquainted with some of the characters in Kinsey’s orbit. Here, the story revolves around a convicted fe ...more
 Li'l Owl
An enjoyable mystery crime thriller

'My name is Kinsey Millhone. I’m a private investigator, licensed by the state of California. I’m thirty-two years old, twice divorced, no kids. The day before yesterday I killed someone and the fact weighs heavily on my mind. I’m a nice person and I have a lot of friends. My apartment is small but I like living in a cramped space. I’ve lived in trailers most of my life, but lately they’ve been getting too elaborate for my taste, so now I live in one room, a “
Dec 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've read D,F,H and O before and F was my favorite. But now it's A. I'mean it was filled with twists till the end, and has some thrill in the final chapter.
The story revolves around the murder of a divorce attorney named Laurence Fife. His wife Nikki was found guilty for the murder even though she claimed to be innocent till the end.
After she went out of jail eight years later, Nikki hires Kinsey Millhone, a private Investigator to find out who killed her husband and framed her. However, as Ki
When Nikki Fife appeared on her doorstep, Private Investigator Kinsey Millhone was surprised to see her. She had only recently been released from prison after serving eight years for the murder of her husband Laurence. Now she was hiring Kinsey to find out who really killed him – she knew she didn’t, but no-one had believed her when she was convicted. Now she needed the truth…

Kinsey had been to the trial eight years previously and formed an opinion then – she felt that Nikki was innocent but wit
Dec 11, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: library-books
This is a mystery, and this is the first book in the Kinsey Millhone series. I have to say I found this book hard to get into. I did not really love the writing style of this book. I found the Kinsey character fun and I can see this series getting better.
Nov 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: tbr-2017
The first book in the Kinsey Millhone series. Though I love the series, the first book did have some issues. I think at times the book's flow got a bit rough. And the characters are not very developed yet. Grafton gives a short description of Kinsey. It takes a lot of books to find out about her last, how she came to live with her aunt, and her past marriages. Getting the build up to all of that is wonderful though.

Kinsey at the time of his book is 32 and twice divorced. A private investigator w
Bob (aka Bobby Lee)
I started reading the alphabet series in the mid 80s and by 'F' I was caught up and eagerly awaited each successive release. Now 35 years later I've decided to reread the Grafton series. I prefer the earlier titles; I think the grittiness and narrative are more to my liking. So, I finished 'A' and was not disappointed - it's quintessential Kinsey with everything I've come to like about the series. After a pause to read other books I want to revisit I'll go on to 'B'. ...more
Nov 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars
No. 1 in a series I had planned to start reading for ages. Not disappointed, but not ecstatic either. It's a nice detective story, straightforward and pleasant to read. I always think that an author has to find his or her feet in the first part of a series anyway.
Apr 30, 2012 rated it really liked it
This is the first in the Alphabet mystery series, by Sue Grafton. I have been wanting to start this series for a long time. Currently, we are up to the letter V. So, I'm pretty far behind. Kinsey has been hired by a woman recently released from prison for murdering her husband. The woman wants to know what really happened. This book reads a little like an hard boiled detective novel, but not over the top. It fits in easily as a straight up mystery/detective novels, but can also work in the cozy ...more
Jan 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
This novel is over 35 years old and it does show its age, but it doesn’t take away from it.

We get introduced to Kinsey Milhone, 32 years old . Was a cop. Now she’s a P.I

She is investigating the murder of an attorney. The alleged killer spent 8 years in prison and when she got out she retained Kinsey’s services to find who is the true killer as she is innocent.

The novel spans 16 days and takes places in various cities in California and in Las Vegas.

Kinsey is a strong real woman who knows what
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'
Aug 07, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 09, 2022 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
90’s flashback! I read this many years ago and voraciously read A-O in the Kinsey Milhone series before I ran out of steam - or interest. Still, Kinsey has long been one of my favorite offbeat heroines and it was fun to visit her again. I have Grafton’s A-Y books on my bookshelves….I think I’ll work my way back through the series and wrap them up over the next few years. Why not? Sometimes there’s nothing as comforting as hanging out with “old friends.”
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Sue Grafton was a #1 New York Times bestselling author. She is best known for her “alphabet series” featuring private investigator Kinsey Millhone in the fictional city of Santa Teresa, California. Prior to success with this series, she wrote screenplays for television movies. Her earlier novels include Keziah Dane (1967) and The Lolly-Madonna War (1969), both out of print. In the book Kinsey and ...more

Other books in the series

Kinsey Millhone (1 - 10 of 25 books)
  • 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)
  • K is for Killer (Kinsey Millhone, #11)

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“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.” 67 likes
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