S is for Silence
Thirty-four years ago the local good time girl disappeared, leaving a husband and seven-year-old daughter in a small community in north central California. Although from time to time over the years the police have relooked into Violet Sullivan's disappearance, nothing has ever been found of her whereabouts.
Her daughter, Daisy, has grown up with feelings of abandonment and distrust. She convinces an old friend to go to Kinsey Milhone and ask for the case to be reopened again. Kinsey reluctantly accepts the case for her friend Tannie, Daisy's old friend. When she talks to Daisy she warns the woman that she probably won't be able to locate any new information. She is willing to ask around and work for a few days, up to a certain monetary amount. Kinsey doesn't want Daisy spending too much money on a dead end search.
Kinsey visits the small town of Serena Station. Many of the people who lived there 34 years ago still are there. She starts asking around about Violet Sullivan. She starts with the girl now woman who had been baby sitting Daisy the night Violet disappeared, then goes on to other neighbors. She visits Daisy's father in a nearby town where he moved after his wife disappeared. He has been the prime suspect in Violet's disappearance, but enough evidence couldn't be found.
The same stories that had been told 34 years earlier were repeated once again to Kinsey. Over the years these people had had plenty chances to think through Violet's disappearance that night and what they had been doing at the time. Kinsey's wasn't learning much new. Until one man, angry over something else, mentions one odd fact he had noticed that night, but never told the police about it. That new fact, along with the other bits and pieces, start to bring together a picture that could lead to Violet Sullivan's location. Is the woman alive or dead? Who never told his or her real knowledge of Violet's doings that night?
This is an excellent detective crime novel. The book focuses on Violet Sullivan's disappearance. Kinsey is only the narrator and detective. She is not personally involved in any other way, nor is her personal story furthered in this novel. I found one glaring error in her 1953 timeline as Grafton jumps from 1953 back to 1987, Kinsey's timeline, and back. That stopped me for a while, not knowing if it is intentional or not, and is the one drawback I have with the book. (If you are interested, there are two different descriptions of Jake Ottweiler's actions during the week before Violet Sullivan's disappearance.)
Grafton is able to take the actions of the people in the early fifties and show how their lives are still affected 34 years later in the later eighties. We all grow and change. But significant events leave their mark forever on us. Grafton reminds us of that as the singular night of one woman's disappearance affects her family and friends for many years to come.
Notice: Non-graphic violence, Suggestive dialogue or situations
| The Series:
A is for Alibi
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