Publisher: Henry Holt and Company
Release Date: 1985
Genre: Mystery

Although business has been slow lately for P.I. Kinsey Millhone, she’s reluctant to take on the case of locating Beverly Danziger’s sister Elaine Boldt. It’s a small matter that Beverly should be able to handle herself. So why is she enlisting Kinsey’s services? Beverly claims she needs Elaine’s signature on some documents so that she can collect a small inheritance. But the whole affair doesn’t sit well with Kinsey. And if there’s something she’s learned in her line of work, it’s to always follow your instincts…

Kinsey’s hunch proves true when she begins her inquiries into Elaine’s whereabouts and discovers that the attractive widow was last seen in a flashy lynx coat boarding a plane for Boca Raton. But the more Kinsey searches for Elaine the more questions she encounters. Is Elaine’s disappearance tied in to the brutal murder several months ago of one of her bridge partners? And what happened to Elaine’s Persian cat who seems to have also vanished?

Things take a turn for the worse when a stranger vandalizes the home of one of Elaine’s neighbors and another neighbor turns up murdered. With her reputation and career on the line, Kinsey risks all to find a missing woman and a killer who’s waiting in the shadows to strike again…


The Case

Two weeks since the events of A is for Alibi, Kinsey is getting her life back on track and putting it all behind her, when Beverly Danziger enters her office! Wanting to hire Kinsey to locate her missing sister, and get a sort after signature on some legal documents, Kinsey isn’t keen on taking on the case. If it’s as simple as Beverly claims, why doesn’t she just locate Elaine herself?

“I figured this was a routine matter I could settle in a day or two and I was thinking with regret that I’d probably end up refunding half the money I’d just deposited. Not that I was doing much else anyway – things were slow.”
Grafton, S.1986, P.10 (E-Book)

Elaine, financially comfortable and retired, lives between two apartments. Kingsey decides to start by checking out both. Arriving in Boca Raton to check out Elaine’s second apartment, Kingsey is surprised to find someone else living there, Pat Usher! Rude and cagey, Pat doesn’t want to help Kingsey, and cannot provide a believable story as to where Elaine is. Could she be the key to this ‘simple’ case? And could the death of a neighbour lead Kingsey to the truth?


The Characters

There is a large cast in B is for Burglar, and it works so well at bringing additional elements to the story. From Beverly Danziger and her husband, to the mysterious Pat Usher, to Mike the mohawked teenager, Kinsey is given multiple threads to follow in her quest to solve this mystery.
Her case brings her into the path of the grieving Leonard Grice, who’s wife was killed in a burglary gone wrong next door to Elaine’s home. Can she help solve this open case and bring closure to Leonard? or what about Mrs. Ochsner, another of Elaine’s neighbours and bridge partner? Can she help Kinsey in locating Elaine?
Kinsey can’t help but wonder, is Elaine even still alive?


Behind the Scenes

Kinsey Millhone is the alter ego of Sue Grafton;

She is actually my alter ego. She is the person I might have been had I not married young and had children, except she will always be braver. I am really appalled by violence and avoid it all costs.
Remembering ‘Alphabet Series’ Author Sue Grafton, And Her Alter Ego Protagonist


Final Thoughts

Written in a fun and compelling way, B is for Burglar is a mystery you want to unravel from the very beginning! It’s not a huge book, so it makes perfect quick read. You also do not need to have read A is for Alibi to enjoy this. B is for Burglar has a wonderful spin on the simple A to B plot writing that many mystery writers fall back on!


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