T is for Trespass

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 04 January, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 04 January, 2009, 12:00am

T is for Trespass

by Sue Grafton

Pan Macmillan, HK$94

T is for Trespass is the 20th instalment of Sue Grafton's extraordinary 'alphabet novels', starring female private investigator Kinsey Millhone. Having covered A-S (A is for Alibi, B is for Burglar and so on), Grafton has decided, inevitably, that it is time for 'T'. We begin, as ever, with the ins and outs of Millhone's life in 1980s California and Grafton's narrative slowly widens to reveal her latest baddie, Solana Rojas. In many ways, Rojas is the embodiment of a Grafton plot. On the surface, both seem warm and even cosy. Rojas seems unthreatening: a stuffy middle-aged matron whose only means of murder would be boring someone to death. We soon realise, however, that dark undercurrents disturb the placid surfaces of both story and character. Rojas is a sociopath who has stolen another person's identity to work as a private carer. This trespass is only the beginning of the indignities and pain Rojas doles out. Having conned her way into the home of one of Millhone's elderly neighbours, Gus, she abuses him in ways that bring tears to the eyes, but which also keep them glued to the page. Forget J.K. Rowling. Grafton is the true master of the series. I can't wait for 'U'.