Q is for Quarry finds our favorite private investigator seeking the identity of a Jane Doe murdered eighteen years ago. Good friend and Santa Teresa Police Department Lieutenant Con Dolan draft Kinsey for the case. Stacy Oliphant, retired from STPD, also works with the pair.
Jane Doe was dumped in a quarry in 1969. The location is near Kinsey's estranged family's property. Walking the grounds she last passed as a child stirs up old memories of the parents she lost and the family she barely knows.
Q is for Quarry is different from most Grafton installments because Kinsey works the case as part of a team. This changes the dynamic of the novel and keeps the trusty VW in the garage, as Dolan's car is the preferred mode of transportation.
Most of the story takes place in and around small Southern California desert towns. There are some brief scenes with Henry the octogenarian landlord, but related developments aren't examined further.
Grafton notes that this story is based on an actual Jane Doe homicide that occurred in Santa Barbara County. Her personal attachment to that unsolved homicide affects the usually laid back tone of Kinsey's adventures. This time, Grafton is so sympathetic for the victim that certain side stories aren't fully explored. In fact, much of the background information that's present in the author's earlier novels doesn't exist here. Readers new to the series should read A is for Alibi to fully appreciate the quirky private investigator.
Q is for Quarry is an adequate addition to the Kinsey Millhone series, but it isn't the best installment of the bunch. Read it to keep abreast of Kinsey's family developments and look forward to "R is for...?"