I is for Innocent is the ninth in the Kinsey Millhone mystery series by Sue Grafton.
I feel compelled to report that at the moment of death, my entire life did not pass before my eyes in a flash . . . What I experienced was a little voice piping up in an outraged tone: “Oh come on. You’re not serious. This is really it?”
It was a Monday early in December when Kinsey Millhone first got involved in the Isabelle Barney murder case.
She was out of work. Attorney Lonnie Klingman’s usual private investigator had just dropped dead of a heart attack. Kinsey was more than happy to oblige.
The trouble started on the very first day of the investigation. Either Kinsey’s predecessor was incompetent – or someone had been getting away with murder. And next time it might turn out to be hers . . .
After the pace and invention of ``H'' Is for Homicide, Grafton sets Kinsey Milhone on a quieter, more cerebral path in the ever-appealing PI's newest abecedarian adventure, again set in Santa Teresa, Calif. When fellow PI Morley Shine dies of a heart attack, Kinsey takes over the task of gathering evidence for a local lawyer who is prosecuting architect David Barney. Six years earlier, Barney was acquitted of murder charges in the still-unsolved death of his wealthy estranged wife Isabel, killed by a bullet fired through the peephole of her front door. Now Isabel's first husband, Ken Voigt, hoping to strip the architect of the fortune he inherited, is charging Barney with Isabel's wrongful death in a civil court, where less stringent evidence is required for conviction. Quickly finding holes in Shine's investigation, Kinsey uncovers a slew of suspects in Isabel's murder, including Voigt's second wife, Barney's first wife, Isabel's less attractive twin sister and even her best friend. Kinsey determines that Shine's death was not straightforward, solves the mystery of another years-old death and comes under direct fire herself before she finally, nearly too late, figures out who is the threat. There's much to enjoy here as Kinsey's octogenarian landlord Henry endures a visit from his fastidious older brother and romance blooms for neighborhood tavern owner Rose. But Kinsey may be voicing fans' hopes for ``J'' when she reflects midway through this case: ``I wanted to feel like the old Kinsey again . . . talkin' trash and kickin' butt.'' 300,000 first printing; Literary Guild and Mystery Guild main selections.