Reading “Y is for Yesterday” was a bittersweet experience. Having recently rediscovered my love for the Kinsey Millhone series, which was foundational for my discovery of the mystery genre back in the 90s, it was hard to read what I knew would be the last book in the series. But at the same time, I could be grateful for having gotten 25 of these delightful stories.
The good news, especially given that there will be no Z book, is that Grafton wraps up an important plot thread here. The story with Ned Lowe, which started in “X,” comes to its creepy conclusion here, so if you’ve been waiting with baited breath to find out what happens there, wait no longer. It’s truly scary, so be warned.
Some readers may not be fans of Grafton’s comparatively slow-paced plotting and use of detail, but for those of us who do enjoy it, “Y is for Yesterday” continues with the excellent character development and worldbuilding (to borrow a term from fantasy) that have so marked out Grafton’s series. Kinsey and her friends (and enemies) feel like real people inhabiting a real place. There’s not a lot of fantasy or wish fulfillment here–Kinsey is still single and, despite having a fair amount of money in the bank, taking on low-level PI jobs while living in her same old studio apartment–but there is an intense sense of reality and groundedness that make the series irresistible.
Grafton’s prose style is, as always, deceptively spare and straightforward, so that she builds a real world with some well-chosen details, simply described. If you’re a long-time fan, you’ll probably enjoy this book, and if you’ve just discovered the series, I sincerely hope you will too (otherwise I’ll have some grave doubts about your literary taste), although you might want to do yourself a favor and go all the way back to “A is for Alibi.”