When Laurence Fife was murdered, few mourned his passing. A prominent divorce attorney with a reputation for single-minded ruthlessness on behalf of his clients, Fife was also rumored to be a dedicated philanderer. Plenty of people in the picturesque southern California town of Santa Teresa had a reason to want him dead. Including, thought the cops, his young and beautiful wife, Nikki. With motive, access, and opportunity, Nikki was their number-one suspect. The jury thought so, too.
Eight years later and out on parole, Niki Fife hires Kinsey Millhone to find out who really killed her late husband.
A trail that is eight years cold. A trail that reaches out to enfold a bitter, wealthy, and foul-mouthed old woman and a young boy, born deaf, whose memory cannot be trusted. A trail that leads to a lawyer defensively loyal to a dead partner--and disarmingly attractive to Millhone; to an ex-wife, brave, lucid, lovely--and still angry over Fife's betrayal of her; to a not-so-young secretary with too high a salary for too few skills--and too many debts left owing: The trail twists to include them all, with Millhone following every turn until it finally twists back on itself and she finds herself face-to-face with a killer cunning enough to get away with murder.
"A" Is for Alibi is crime writer Sue Grafton's debut mystery novel in the Kinsey Millhone "Alphabet mystery" series, first published in 1982. The novel is set in the fictional southern California city of Santa Teresa, based on Santa Barbara. The choice of murder by substituting the contents of an antihistamine tablet with crushed oleander meant that an alibi held no value because the contents of the tablet could have been switched a considerable time earlier than the victim actually swallowed the tablet. Grafton says that she conceived aspects of the plot on her own "fantasies" of murdering her then-husband while going through a divorce...