REVIEW: Y IS FOR YESTERDAY, BY SUE GRAFTON

 

The darkest and most disturbing case report from the files of Kinsey Millhone, Y is for Yesterday begins in 1979, when four teenage boys from an elite private school sexually assault a fourteen-year-old classmate—and film the attack.  Not long after, the tape goes missing and the suspected thief, a fellow classmate, is murdered. In the investigation that follows, one boy turns state’s evidence and two of his peers are convicted. But the ringleader escapes without a trace.
       
Now, it’s 1989 and one of the perpetrators, Fritz McCabe, has been released from prison. Moody, unrepentant, and angry, he is a virtual prisoner of his ever-watchful parents—until a copy of the missing tape arrives with a ransom demand. That’s when the McCabes call Kinsey Millhone for help. As she is drawn into their family drama, she keeps a watchful eye on Fritz. But he’s not the only one being haunted by the past. A vicious sociopath with a grudge against Millhone may be leaving traces of himself for her to find…

My Thoughts: From the opening pages of Y is for Yesterday, I was pulled into the lives of the teens from 1979…and then into Kinsey Millhone’s efforts a decade later to solve the mystery from the past.

Kinsey is one of my favorite sleuths, especially since, in her first person narrative, she shares the tidbits and the routines of her working and her personal life. We visit the crowd at Rosie’s Diner, where Kinsey often has meals, except when she finds the menu somewhat disgusting. At her cute little garage apartment, we observe how she enjoys her peanut butter and pickle sandwiches, and we follow her efforts to keep her space safe. Intruders have been a problem in the past, and currently she is looking for someone who tried to kill her the year before.

Her love life is sporadic, but she has friendships with people on whom she can depend.

Something happens in the case from the past that Kinsey finds troubling…and before she can finish, she is fired. What are the McCabes and the former teens hiding? What will she do to find the answers? When she is hired again, she begins to follow the threads that lead to an appalling conclusion. Unexpected connections and relationships help fill in the blanks and two more murders bring a sense of poetic justice. I could not stop turning the pages, holding my breath at each new turn. 4.5 stars.

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