T is for Trespass by Sue Grafton
published 2007 chapter 10, set in 1987
Solana checked her reflection in the rearview mirror. She was wearing her new glasses, a cheap pair she’d found that were a close match to the glasses on the Other’s driver’s license. With her hair dyed dark, the resemblance between them was passable. Her own face was thinner, but she wasn’t worried about that. Anyone comparing her face to the photo would simply think she’d lost weight. The dress she’d chosen for the occasion was a crisply ironed cotton that made a comforting rustling sound when she walked. It wasn’t a uniform per se, but it had the same simple lines and it smelled of spray starch. The only jewelry she wore was a watch with big numbers on the face and a sweeping second hand. A watch like that implied a quick and professional attention to vital signs. She took out her compact and powdered her nose. She looked good. Her complexion was clear and she liked her hair in this new darker shade. She tucked her compact away, satisfied that she looked the part—faithful companion to the old. She got out of her car and locked it behind her, then crossed the street.
observations: There is something very unusual about Sue Grafton’s alphabet series. Many writers set books in the past, many get caught out by aging heroes, or set their series books in a vague ‘since the last one but also now’ time era. But PI heroine Kinsey Millhone was wholly contemporary when she started (A for Alibi, 1982), has stayed in the 1980s, and is now quaintly stuck without mobile phones and the Internet. Of course this makes a detective and her research more interesting, the reader doesn’t say impatiently ‘well why didn’t she just Google it? Phone him?’ And mostly Grafton resists the temptation to be knowing about this – though in T there is a mention of the future of computers. And Kinsey gets a pedometer and tries to do 10,000 steps a day - surely not in 1987?
One complaint – this English version of the book seems to have had some random changes made for the UK market, completely unnecessarily and making it read oddly.
Grafton is very specific about what people are wearing – as was this author last week, and again we have ended up with a constructed figure for the illo. The woman in the extract is truly horrible – this is not a spoiler – and the description of the way she goes about her activities is bone-chilling and terrifyingly convincing. It seemed unfair to use a photograph of a real person, and even the statue - in Joseph, Oregon - is too good for her.
Links up with: One of the anglicizations objected to is ‘knickers’ – see more discussion in this entry. More women investigators here and here and here. A character in T is called Vronsky – the name of Anna Karenina’s lover.