“Two dead men changed the course of my life that fall. One of them I knew and the other l’d never laid eyes on until I saw him in the morgue.”

Thus begins W is for Wasted (Kinsey Millhone Mystery), the latest mystery in the series starring Private Investigator Kinsey Millhone. For those who follow her adventures, you know, as I do, that the stories are generally told in her first person narrative, allowing us to enjoy the inner workings of her quirky mind, from how she investigates—in the eighties and before the Internet or cell phones—and even how she lives her daily life. I enjoy following along as she reveals much about her personality, from how little she likes domestic duties, although her small studio next door to landlord Henry’s is neat, and what constitutes her daily routines. She eats on the run, or eats out. Her love life is sporadic, and her wry sense of humor when describing these occasional relationships tells us a lot about her attitudes regarding commitment.

In this particular story, some of the narrative is a third person account of Pete Wolinsky’s final days—one of the dead men—and as we gain more information about his activities, we see that the deaths of the two men, who did not know one another, are somehow linked.

What pulls Kinsey into the investigation is learning that the unidentified dead person was a homeless man with a previously unknown connection to her, and whose last actions will affect her life forever.

The book brings a lot of detail to the reader, which I loved, and I was completely drawn in, enjoying Kinsey’s take on the characters she meets along the way as she tries to make sense of the mysterious happenings in the lives and deaths of the two men.

Who will Kinsey meet along the way to solving the case? How will these connections both impede and change the course of her investigation? And will her discoveries bring about a satisfactory resolution?

Grafton has a talent for bringing the characters to life, and in each book, we meet old friends, like the elderly landlord Henry, his brother William, and Rosie, who owns the neighborhood diner. We are offered a peek into a bygone era (the eighties), which can bring up feelings of nostalgia, even as I also acknowledge that life is much simpler nowadays, with cell phones and the Internet. Every time Kinsey had to search for a pay phone, I remembered those times and those feelings.

I love this character and her stories…I cannot wait for the next book. Five stars!