It's been one heck of a Christmas holiday for Kinsey Millhone. On Christmas Eve, she finds that $5,000 belonging to someone else has been deposited into her bank account. Kinsey tries to rectify the situation with the bank, but work calls. Her private investigation services are needed to look into the cause of a warehouse fire.
Kinsey examines the evidence at Wood/Warren, a family-owned manufacturer of hydrogen furnaces. She sees nothing suspicious and heads back to her office at California Fidelity Insurance to record her findings and begin the holiday celebration.
On December 27, Kinsey is summoned to the office and questioned about her findings. Her report is gone. In it's place is an arson report from the fire chief. It appears that someone tried to burn the Wood/Warren warehouse down in an attempt to collect insurance money. Unfortunately, Kinsey gave the go ahead to pay off the claim, so she appears to be in cahoots with an arsonist. On top of everything, the mysterious $5,000 in Kinsey's bank account makes it look like she took a payoff.
California Fidelity suspends Kinsey as a belated Christmas present. With nothing to do and no office in which to do it, Kinsey heads home to investigate her own case.
Be it bad timing or coincidence, Kinsey's second ex-husband, Daniel, shows up at her door. He provides a mild distraction and a listening ear. The leading lady must be careful, though, that she doesn't fall for her former mate who includes physical and emotional baggage. Kinsey presses on to clear her good name.
The Wood family is an odd lot, and several of the adult children are possible suspects in the fire and frame-up. Kinsey also wonders if someone at the insurance company is involved. Was she targeted or did she accidentally fall into the fraud case?
The deeper Kinsey delves into the Woods' history, the more her life is at risk. There's a murder within the small group of suspects and the private investigator barely escapes with her life.
The wheels of justice move a little slower during the holidays. For this reason, the fraud case against Kinsey is slowed by a couple of days. Can Ms. Millhone prove her innocence before the authorities request her presence at the incarceration inn? What secrets are held within the Wood family who will pay for the information with the loss of life? The answers to these questions and other shocking details are found within the pages of E is for Evidence.
This fifth installment is one of the best in the popular Sue Grafton series. A is for Alibi introduced Kinsey Millhone as the quirky, no-nonsense private investigator from the central California coastal town of Santa Teresa. Our heroine has seen her share of adventures, each described in a book represented by a different letter of the alphabet.
Readers who are new to the Grafton series can start their journey at any part of the list. The author generously provides enough relevant background information for fans to fully appreciate the beloved investigator.
As with all series, some installments are better than others. E is for Evidence is one of the better editions in the set. Kinsey is in great form, very cranky and funny when she is falsely accused. Grafton provides plenty of suspects and lots of motives. The short novel moves fast and is very entertaining. The pacing of the tale is just about perfect, making this an ideal weekend read.
The only drawback is relatively minor. Henry, the retired baker and crossword puzzle-writing landlord is not in this book. The same can be said for Rosie the crank Hungarian restaurant owner. Grafton gives both of these characters a break and sends them away for the holidays.
New fans of mystery fiction simply must be introduced to Kinsey Millhone. She's a great female character, putting brains and humor over riches and beauty. Most of her cases are exciting, all are entertaining. Sue Grafton's series does not disappoint.
It's always nice to start a series at the beginning. If you can start with A is for Alibi, great! If not, then check out E is for Evidence and be introduced to Kinsey Millhone. You'll get a great story without being left in the dark.