'B' IS FOR BURGLAR
A nifty second outing for feisty Kinsey Millhone, ex-cop, twice divorced California private eye ("A" Is for Alibi, 1982). Hired by neurotic, sleek Beverly Danziger to find missing sister Elaine Boldt, Kinsey finds herself shuttling between Boldt's Santa Teresa condo and the Florida apartment that was her last known destination. An enigmatic Pat Usher is living there, claiming to be a sub-tenant and suggesting Elaine is visiting friends in Sara-sota. At the Santa Teresa end, Kinsey worries about a possible connection between Elaine's abrupt departure and the murder of Marty Grice, her next-door neighbor and sometime bridge partner, whose bludgeoned body was found in their burned-out house by husband Leonard. His young drug-dealing nephew Mike knows more about that than he's telling. There are mysterious break-ins, savage apartment trashings and another death before Kinsey gets her act together and survives a gripping confrontation with the killer. Unflagging suspense, a plot that convinces, crisp pacing, and characters that vibrate with life leave the reader anticipating the remainder of the alphabet.