A Is For Alibi


Author:  Sue Grafton

Title:  “A” is for Alibi

Genre:  Mystery

Publication Date:  1982

Number of Pages:  274

Geographical Setting:  California, Nevada

Time Period:   Early 1980s

Series:  Kinsey Millhone Mysteries, Alphabet Series

Plot Summary:   Nikki Fife, who served eight years in prison for allegedly poisoning her husband, hires private investigator Kinsey Millhone to find her husband’s real killer.   Because the victim was a callous and unfaithful divorce attorney, the suspect list is long.  Kinsey manages to narrow the list of suspects down to family members, close friends, and a few former spurned lovers.  In the midst of the investigation, she finds herself attracted to one of the suspects which further complicates the situation.  As Kinsey delves deeper into the investigation, she becomes entangled in a world of death and violence and must find the killer before it is too late for everyone involved!  This fast-paced, suspenseful mystery with a sassy heroine and a multitude of twists will hook readers from “A” to “Z”.

Subject Headings:  Murder investigation, Poisoning, Female private investigators, Adultery, Southern California

Appeal:  fast-paced, suspenseful, investigative, plot-centered, candid, conversational, series characters, plot twists, violent, gritty, introspective, strong sense of place

3 appeal terms that best describe this book: investigative, suspenseful, plot-centered

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:

Elements of a Murder: A History of Poison by John Emsley- Elements of a Murder:  A History of Poison examines 5 toxic chemicals and their use in some of the most infamous murders in history.  Elements of a Murder: A History of Poison and “A” is for Alibi both have murder by poison as a subject. 

Mortal Danger by Ann Rule- Mortal Danger examines several murders committed by spouses or family members.  “A” is for Alibi and Mortal Danger both have murder by loved ones as a main topic.

Special Agent:  My Life on the Front Lines as a Woman in the FBI by Candice DeLong- Retired agent Candice DeLong discusses her undercover work on major cases during her twenty year career with the FBI.  Special Agent:  My Life on the Front Lines as a Woman in the FBI will appeal to readers interested in the life of a female investigator. 

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors (why they are similar):

Edwin of the Iron Shoes (Sharon McCone Mysteries, 1) by Marcia Muller- San Francisco private investigator Sharon McCone investigates the murder of an antiques dealer.   Like “A” is for Alibi, Edwin of the Iron Shoes is a suspenseful, fast-paced mystery with a female private investigator and a strong sense of place.

Track of the Cat (Anna Pigeon Mysteries, 1) by Nevada Barr- Anna Pigeon, a park ranger in western Texas, must investigate the death of a fellow ranger.  Like “A” is for Alibi, Track of the Cat is a suspenseful, plot-driven novel with a female detective and a strong sense of place.

A Trouble of Fools (Carlotta Carlyle Mysteries, 1) by Linda Barnes- Former cop and now private investigator Carlotta Carlyle searches for a missing cab driver.  Both A Trouble of Fools and “A” is for Alibi are plot-driven, fast-paced mysteries with former female cops who are now private investigators.



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