Friday, March 16, 2012

D is for Deadbeat

D is for Deadbeat
By Sue Grafton

D is for Deadbeat
Sue Grafton

I have begun listening to Grafton's alphabet mysteries in the car. I realized that I had listened or read to some of them in the past but she is about to get to the end of the alphabet (V is for Vengeance is the latest). I wanted to read them all! Is that OCD or what?

Anyway, Kinsey Millhone is the private detective in Santa Teresa, California. She is an orphan, twice divorced, once a police officer and now on her own. She rents a tiny garage apartment, jogs only because she needs to keep in shape, practically lives out of her VW and, in these first novels, is still typing on a portable typewriter. She is an interesting character who tends to get emotionally involved in her cases. She is also faithful. This is the second novel in which the person who hires her ends up dying yet she continues to detect on their behalf.

In this novel, her client turns out to have both given her an alias and have written a bad check. When she attempts to find him, she discovers that he has just gotten out of prison, is a terrible drunk and beats his wife. Then, as the novel progresses, she discovers more bad news: he went to prison for a DUI murder of four people, he is actually already married, he has a grown daughter and he ends up being murdered. Of course, only Kinsey believes he has been murdered and follows each clue, questioning people who would rather not talk to her, being rather secretive in many cases, and being a general pain in the hopes something will break.

What did this book have to do with my faith? The portrayal of Christians in this novel was truly awful. We do discover that Kinsey did attend a Methodist Church as a child but her aunt was asked not to bring her back. I can't remember what was wrong, although it was probably because she asked too many questions. The church and Chritians in this book were seen as part of a very low socioeconomic class and their religion was incredibly charasmatic and conservative. The real wife of the client seemed to have some sort of mental problem in which she seemed to use her Bible knowledge in the throws of whatever fit she would go into. Lots of quotes from Isaiah and Revelation in the King James Version were used. The funeral for the dead man was more of a farce and a circus than a real worship service. All of the Christian viewpoint was pretty much denied by Kinsey and several of the other characters. Is this what the rest of the world sees of Jesus? Has the church turned people off from Christ? These are the questions that I began to ask.

I highly recommend D is for Deadbeat and any of the other Millhone novels!

Happy reading!


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