Ah, yes. Kinsey Millhone. I’ve only read a handful in the series, but the character has stayed with me for over a decade now. I discovered the Kinsey Millhone series as a young teenager thanks to an aunt who loves to read as much as I do. In fact, I think my aunt, my grandma, and I were all reading the books at that time. So why does Kinsey stay with me when I haven’t read one of her mysteries in years? The answer is simply that she is an amazing character. It also may be partially a result of my lifelong love affair with mysteries.
I can’t accurately explain my fascination with Kinsey without also mentioning her predecessor in my life: Nancy Drew. Nancy Drew happened to be the first series of books I ever read. By the time I was seven years old, I was hooked. I couldn’t get enough of Nancy, her friends, and her boyfriend. In my seven year-old brain, it was as if Barbie, under an assumed named, decided to solve mysteries for the pure pleasure of it, allowing me to come along for the ride. Fortunately I had access to the original Nancy Drew Mystery Stories, once again thanks to an aunt who loves to read and a grandma who saved everything important. By the time I was twelve, I’d devoured not only the original books, but the new series as well. I desperately needed something new, something much more grown up. Enter Kinsey.
What I’ve always loved about Kinsey is her deep sense of self-reliance, the fact that she is such a creature of habit, as well as her utter disregard for the conventional. She didn’t drive a powder blue roadster and she certainly didn’t have to be rescued from time to time by her boyfriend Ned. Instead, Kinsey is one of the most stubborn characters I’ve ever come across. I can relate. She keeps everything in her life painfully simple in an era of complete and utter excess. She is a freelance detective very set in her ways.
My biggest admiration for Kinsey comes from her lifestyle, as well as her intellect. She knows exactly how she wants to live her life, wants she wants to do, and with whom she wants to share it all. Who doesn’t want that kind of control over her life? Of course, just like Nancy, she has a penchant for finding herself in the middle of a mystery.
- Best Fictional Female Detectives, part 1 (moonlitgarden.wordpress.com)
- Sue Grafton to discuss latest in Alphabet Series at Vero Beach Book Center Nov. 18 (tcpalm.com)