Summary and book reviews of Q Is For Quarry by Sue Grafton

Q Is For Quarry

by Sue Grafton

Q Is For Quarry by Sue Grafton X
Q Is For Quarry by Sue Grafton
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  • First Published:
    Oct 2002, 352 pages
    Paperback:
    Oct 2003, 368 pages

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Book Summary

For eighteen years a homicide has remained unsolved. Now the two men who found the body want one last shot at the case. Old and ill, they need someone to help with their legwork and they turn to Kinsey Millhone - but revisiting the past can be a dangerous business.

Quarry, n. An open excavation.
Quarry, v. Transitive: To dig or take from. Intransitive: To delve into.
Quarry, n. An object pursued or hunted; prey.

She was a "Jane Doe," an unidentified white female whose decomposed body was discovered near a quarry off California's Highway 1. The case fell to the Santa Teresa County Sheriff's Department, but the detectives had little to go on. The woman was young, her hands were bound with a length of wire, there were multiple stab wounds, and her throat had been slashed. After months of investigation, the murder remained unsolved.

That was eighteen years ago. Now the two men who found the body, both nearing the end of long careers in law enforcement, want one last shot at the case. Old and ill, they need someone to help with their legwork and they turn to Kinsey Millhone. They will, they tell her, find closure if they can just identify the victim. Kinsey is intrigued and agrees to the job.

But revisiting the past can be a dangerous business, and what begins with the pursuit of Jane Doe's real identity ends in a high-risk hunt for her killer.



Note on Text : Q is for Quarry is based on an unsolved homicide that occurred in 1969, and Grafton's interest in the case has generated renewed police efforts. During the past year, the body was exhumed and a nationally known forensic artist did the facial reconstruction that appears in the closing pages of Q is for Quarry. Both Grafton and the dedicated members of the Santa Barbara Sheriff's Department are hoping the photograph will trigger memories that may lead to a positive identification.

On the day Jane Doe was reburied, many officers were at the gravesite. "It's eerie," Grafton writes, "to think about the power this woman still has. Here we are, thirty-three years later, and she still wants to go home."

Chapter 1

It was Wednesday, the second week in April, and Santa Teresa was making a wanton display of herself. The lush green of winter, with its surfeit of magenta and salmon bougainvillea, had erupted anew in a splashy show of crocuses, hyacinths, and flowering plum trees. The skies were a mild blue, the air balmy and fragrant. Violets dotted the grass. I was tired of spending my days closeted in the hall of records, searching out grant deeds and tax liens for clients who were, doubtless, happily pursuing tennis, golf, and other idle amusements.

I suppose I was suffering from a mutant, possibly incurable form of spring fever, which consisted of feeling bored, restless, and disconnected from humanity at large. My name is Kinsey Millhone. I'm a private detective in Santa Teresa, California, ninety-five miles north of Los Angeles. I'd be turning thirty-seven on May 5, which was coming up in four weeks, an event that was probably contributing to my general malaise. I lead a ...

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Reviews

Media Reviews

The San Diego Tribune
Grafton weaves an intriguing story, convincing in detail and satisfying in development. Still, what lifts this above the crowd is the character of her protagonist, Kinsey Millhone, who rings true both as a detective and as a woman.

Bookpage
Q Is for Quarry provides more insight into the detective's convoluted family relationships than any of Grafton's previous novels, and it's a cracking good story, as well.

Kirkus Reviews
The convoluted, fact-based tale—studded with masterful portraits of the dying detectives, a couple of dead-alive ex-cons, and the might-as-well-be-dead suspects—has run half its course before the victim is identified as a wild high-school girl who slept around so indiscriminately and exhaustively that half the population of little Quorum, California, seems to think her violent death was no more than she deserved.

Publishers Weekly
While Kinsey Millhone is as energetic and tenacious as ever, and although the plot hustles along at a gratifying pace, her 17th adventure is a little slow getting underway with all the initial accumulated biographical data.

Library Journal - Wilda Williams
Inspired by the actual unsolved murder of a young woman in Santa Barbara County....Once again, an intriguing plot, fully drawn characters, and wry humor prove why Grafton's series is one of the best. With nine letters to go, one hopes she can keep it up.

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