October 25, 1999 12:00 PM

by Sue Grafton

Page-turner of the week

Sue Grafton hits the bull’s-eye with this 15th installment of her best-selling alphabet mysteries.

This time out, Santa Teresa, Calif., private investigator Kinsey Millhone is forced to track down her first husband, Mickey Magruder, when she finds a letter all but exonerating the former vice cop of killing a Vietnam vet he had been suspected of beating to death. When Magruder resigned from the force at the time of the killing, Kinsey figured he was guilty and walked out on him. (“I promised him ‘for better or worse’ and gave him ‘worse,’ ” she says.) Feeling guilty, she begins a search for Mickey even as a pair of L.A. detectives come calling to say that he has been shot and is in a coma. What’s more, he has been plugged with her old gun.

As always with Grafton, there is the pleasure of keeping up with the sassy Millhone, who admits to owning just one dress and carries her lock picks in a fanny pack. How can you resist a heroine who confides, “It’s pitiful to have a life in which junk food is awarded the same high status as sex”? Grafton adds a historical dimension to the sleuthery, tracing her tale back to Vietnam and weaving it forward with oddball characters and intriguing strands of duplicity. (Holt, $26)

Bottom Line: “O” is for On Her Game

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