After months on the waiting list, I got the library notice that Y is for Yesterday was available to borrow just a few days afer Sue Grafton passed away. So my reading was shadowed by the sad knowledge that this would be the last new Kinsey Milhone adventure.
I loved the "Kinsey" part of the book, as our tenacious PI juggles a new blackmail case with the ongoing menace of Ned Lowe, the serial killer who almost made Kinsey his victim in X. I got caught up in Kinsey's daily stress over the mundane details of making sure that home and office are secure, weapons are in place, the need to stay away from isolated places at night, while she soldiered on in her investigations. Two cases means two different mysteries, double amount suspenseful twists and two climaxes, one where Kinsey cleverly nabs a suspect just in the nick of time, the other problem solved with the help of an unlikely compatriot.
I did not love the "yesterday" chapters, detailing the 10-year-old backstory of the murder and other events that are the foundation of the blackmail scheme. Long and implausible. Other than the murder victim there are no sympathetic characters, and it made no sense that these loosely connected individuals would be hanging out together ten years after the murder, especially with the muderer! I finished never understanding the motive for the blackmail.
The appeal of any PI novel is that we follow along with the detective on her discovery. This is diminished when the narrative shifts to other characters, so that the reader knows things the detective does not.
A few minor developments in Kinsey's personal life suggest bigger changes may have come in the never to be written Z is for Zero. While I am sad that there will be no new adventures I am fine with leaving Kinsey where she is in her life, housesharing with Henry, puzzling over human foibles, munching on peanut butter and pickle sandwiches and saving the innocents of Santa Theresa, one case at a time. Thank you, Sue Grafton, for giving us the intrepid Kinsey who persevered through Alibi, Burglar, Corpse, Deadbeat, Evidence,Fugitive,Gumshoe,Homicide, Innocent, Judgement, Killer, Lawless, Malice, Noose, Outlaw, Peril, Quarry, Ricochet, Silence,Tresspass, Undertow, Vengeance, Wasted, X and Yesterday.