I is for Innocent opens with private investigator Kinsey Millhone renting work space from the law offices of Kingman & Ives. If you don't know why California Fidelity is out of the picture, then read H is for Homicide.
As usual, Kinsey is between cases so when Lonnie Kingman needs her services, she's available. It turns out that Morley Shine, the private investigator Lonnie was using, just dropped dead of a heart attack. Kinsey is urgently needed to obtain information for an upcoming civil trial.
The plaintiff in the case is Kenneth Voigt. He is suing David Barney for the wrongful death of Isabelle Barney. David, Isabelle's second husband, was tried for and acquitted of his wife's gruesome shooting death. Kenneth, the victim's first husband, wants David's money for the daughter he had with Isabelle. Got that?
I is for Innocent details Kinsey's investigation. Morley was in the middle of the case when he died, so our heroine must sift through his mess in search of answers. To complicate matters, the murder in question is six years old and people's minds aren't as sharp regarding the incident.
Kinsey's inquiry is first devoted to proving David Barney's guilt. His alibi is shady, and he had the best motive. However, with a little sleuthing, the quirky p.i. finds there are several suspects with a handful of plausible motives. Could it be possible that David Barney is innocent? Should Kinsey shift the focus of her investigation?
The characters are all tied in one way or another. Many of the suspects have been previously or are currently married to each other and it's hard to keep track of who is attached to whom. Readers should tread carefully over the story so they can keep all the players straight.
This ninth installment of the popular Sue Grafton series has an entertaining side story regarding Kinsey's lovable landlord Henry, his brother and Rosie the cranky Hungarian restaurant owner. Henry the octogenarian is a fan favorite. He usually adds a bit of humor to the tale.
As with all novels in this series, readers don't need to begin with A is for Alibi to follow the adventures of Kinsey Millhone. It's always nice to start from square one, but not necessary. However, there are a couple references to past installments which you would understand if you read G is for Gumshoe and
I is for Innocent is a satisfactory addition to this Grafton series. The story gets off to a slow start and there are many characters and roles to keep track of. Still, the series as a whole is a lot of fun. The stories are the perfect size for weekend reading and the quirky private investigator will have you coming back for more.