Meet Kinsey Millhone, P.I.
Sue Grafton, author of the “alphabet series,” writes mystery novels about a private investigator named Kinsey Millhone. The series begins with A is for Alibi and, so far, goes through W is for Wasted.
Millhone lives in the fictional California town of Santa Teresa in a tiny apartment. As she says in “A” Is for Alibi, “My apartment is small but I like living in a cramped space.”
She describes her apartment in more detail in later books.
“It’s tidy and self-contained and all of it suits me absolutely.”
– Kinsey Millhone in “D” Is for Deadbeat
Millhone’s apartment is a converted single-car garage “maybe fifteen feet square, which serves as living room, bedroom, kitchen, bathroom, closet, and laundry room.”
She used to live in a trailer, but found it “too opulent.” She mentions that she may even end up without an apartment at all.
I tend to be work-oriented and my living quarters seem to have shrunk, year by year, to this miniature state. For a while, I lived in a trailer, but that began to feel too opulent. I’m often out of town and I object to spending money for space I don’t use. It’s possible that one day I’ll reduce my personal requirements to a sleeping bag that I can toss in the backseat of my car, thus eliminating altogether the need for paying rent.
Kinsey Millhone in “C” is for Corpse
Her apartment “has been cleverly designed and apportioned to suggest the illusion of living room, dining room, and bedroom.” (“E” is for Evidence).
Millhone’s minimalist wardrobe
Millhone has few clothes, dressing mostly in jeans and turtlenecks, though she does own one dress.
I stopped by my apartment and changed into pantyhose, low heels, and my all-purpose dress. This garment, which I’ve owned for five years, is made of some magic fabric that doesn’t wilt, wrinkle, or show dirt. It can be squashed down to the size of a rain hat and shoved in the bottom of my handbag without harm. It can also be rinsed out in any bathroom sink and hung to dry overnight. It’s black, lightweight, has long sleeves, zips up the back, and should probably be ‘accessorized,’ a women’s clothing concept I’ve never understood. I wear the dress ‘as is’ and it always looks okay to me.
Kinsey Millhone in “D” is for Deadbeat
She doesn’t own much of anything else either
Millhone has few possessions, mentioning in “E” is for Evidence, “I have more than adequate storage space for the few things I possess.” She also has few wants.
As it is, my wants are few. I don’t have pets or houseplants. I do have friends, but I don’t entertain. If I have any hobbies at all, they consist of cleaning my little semi-automatic and reading up on evidential documents. I’m not exactly a bundle of laughs, but I do pay my bills, keep a little money tucked away, and provide myself with medical insurance to cover the hazards of my trade. I like my life just as it is, though I try not to boast overmuch about the fact.
Kinsey Millhone in “C” is for Corpse
“The accumulation of an entire life and it was really only so much trash. Who would ever need to refer to any of this stuff again?”
– Kinsey Millhone in “A” Is for Alibi (about someone else’s stuff)
Thanks to Carol Preibis of Ahh the Simple Life for telling me about Millhone’s minimalism in the comments to my post on Jack Reacher. I’d heard of Grafton’s novels (mostly as crossword clues like “A” is for ____,”) but had never read any of them.
I began with “A” Is for Alibi and worked my way through “F” Is for Fugitive before writing this post. (Yes, I read them in order. Go ahead and laugh.)
They’re enjoyable and easy-to-read mystery novels. If you like mysteries, give them a try.