Monday, November 29, 2010

N Is For Noose - Sue Grafton

N Is For Noose
By: Sue Grafton
Published: 1998
My rating: Fair

My wife and I read this one to each other. Neither of us had heard of Sue Grafton and we both agreed that this was by far, not the best book we have read!

Kinsey Millhone is a private investigator in Santa Teresa California but when she gets a job in Nota Lake, she realizes that her life in the big city is much easier to handle than trying to break through the closed ranks of this small town and it's tight lipped population! It doesn't help that she was hired by one of the least liked women in town to dig into her husband Tom's death. It also doesn't help that Tom was a very well respected sheriff in Nota Lake and people weren't going to take kindly to a stranger diggin' up dirt on him! Despite the opposition, Kinsey soldiers on getting deeper and deeper into dangerous territory. The few friendships she manages to cultivate in the town are wary of her and it is obvious that friend and foe alike would prefer she drop the case and leave. She finally digs deep enough to cause some concern and she very quickly finds she has put herself in danger. Despite repeated threats, warnings, and even an attack, she continues on to solve the case.

I really was disappointed in Sue's writing style. The story was severely bogged down by excessive description of unimportant activities and places. One part describes in painstaking detail, the drive between Nota Lake and Santa Teresa, right down to which direction to turn on which route. Other places described a setting with as many as eight or more details that didn't add to the plot in the least. Kinsey came off as a whiny coward who would rather be doing anything other than solving a case that may put her in the slightest danger. One passage described her whimpering aloud when she was scared. I just couldn't bring myself to like her at all and felt that she was less than competent as a PI. The plot itself was poorly thought out and I was very dissatisfied with the ending which went way over the top. We struggled to finish the book and were very thankful to see the end of it!

Overall I think it's obvious that I didn't like it. The plot could have been bearable with better writing but slogging through the mass of unimportant detail was the main thing that ruined it for us. As is my rule, I'm not going to write off Sue's work after this one book. Hopefully, as I have found with other authors, I'll be pleasantly surprised with the next one I try!


  1. I know she gets bogged down with details, but I am hooked on her. I have all of the books. Give it another try...maybe her most recent which is a little more sophisticated. These are my mindless reads, but fun. I just skip through the details that bore me. Good review, though.

  2. I read I IS FOR INNOCENT several years ago and, though I was intrigued by the story, I did NOT fall in love with Sue Grafton. I've never read another one.

  3. As I was writing this review I was cringing at how harsh I was being. I thought "A lot of people like this author, so what's wrong with me?" But then I remembered that I'm crazy and that must explain it! :) I guess if we all had the same taste in everything, the world would be a pretty dull place.

    I promise to give her another try, I was thinking about going to the beginning and trying A Is For Alibi. Did you like that one? Do you have a favorite in the series?

    Thanks so much for commenting!

  4. Yeah, don't give up on her. I've read most of her Kinsey novels and I do like them but I think most of my pleasure comes from knowing the character so well after almost 20 books read. That said, there is quite a difference in quality and style between some of the books in the series. If she's not for you, though, just roll to the next many books, so little time. :-)

  5. You're so right Sam, I stopped at the library to pick up a stack of E-books and was hard put not to take every other one I looked at! It's so much fun discovering new authors, even if I don't really like them! :)

  6. Thanks for another meaningful review! I think it's so cool that you and your wife read to each other.

  7. Thanks Susan! Reading to each other is a lot more rewarding for us than sitting glued to the TV! Although we do that too sometimes. :)

    We normally read mysteries and enjoy stopping to discuss the case to see if we can solve it first! :)

  8. I'm sorry to hear you didn't like the book. I am a die-hard Sue Grafton fan - have all of her books and quite enjoy most of them.
    Give her another chance.

  9. I seem to have a knack for picking out the one book in a series that is least likely to appeal to me. I did the same thing in the "Cat Who" series by Lillian Jackson Braun. That is why I will most definitely give Sue another chance! :) I am looking forward to having my mind changed! :)