"M" is for money. Lots of it. "M" is for Malek Construction, the $40 million company that grew out of modest soil to become one of the big three in California construction, one of the few still in family hands. "M" is for the Malek family: four sons now nearing middle age who stand to inherit a fortune--four men with very different outlooks, temperaments, and needs, linked only by blood and money. Eighteen years ago, one of them--angry, troubled, and in trouble--went missing. "M" is for Millhone, hired to trace that missing black sheep brother. "M" is for memories, none of them happy. The bitter memories of an embattled family. This prodigal son will find no welcome at his family's table. "M" is for malice. And in brutal consequence, "M" is for murder, the all-too-common outcome of familial hatreds. "M" is for malice . . . and malice kills. Amazon.com Review "Every investigation has a nature of its own, but there are certain shared characteristics," explains private eye Kinsey Millhone in her 13th alphabetic outing. "Here's what you hope for: a chance remark from the former neighbor on a skip-trace, a penciled notation on the corner of a document, an ex-spouse with a grudge, the number on an account, an item overlooked at the scene of a crime. Here's what you expect: the dead ends, bureaucratic bullheadedness, the cul-de-sacs, trails that go nowhere or simply fade into thin air, denials, prevarications, the blank-eyed stares from all the hostile witnesses. Here's what you know: that you've done it before and you have the toughness and determination to pull it off again. Here's what you want: justice. Here's what you'll settle for: something equivalent, the quid pro quo." All of the above are on display in Grafton's latest entry in her increasingly popular series set in a thinly-disguised Santa Barbara, as the virtually ageless Kinsey finds and loses a missing heir and gets back an old lover. From Publishers Weekly Approaching middle age warily, PI Kinsey Millhone of the Southern California coast is mildly depressed, romantically vulnerable and in the process of reassessing her family ties. Yet, when it comes to her professional abilities, she's at the top of her form, as this deftly plotted and absorbing novel (her 13th appearance, after L Is for Lawless) proves. Bader Malek, a local industrial tycoon, has died, and his four sons now stand to inherit a substantial fortune. But one of them, Guy, has been missing since 1968. A drug addict, ne'er-do-well and all-around miscreant, Guy had been disinherited by his exasperated father shortly before he vanished. But that particular will has disappeared, and Kinsey has been hired by the family to find out if Guy is still alive and thus in line to collect his original portion of the estate. She quickly succeeds in locating him and brings back a sweet, guileless and totally reformed man. But is he? The three other brothers?a truly devious, arrogant and greedy lot?are deeply ambivalent about Guy's return. A murder in the family leaves the surviving Malek kin as prime suspects. This is a subtle and swiftly moving novel, pleasantly unpredictable, with an agreeable overlay of smoldering romance, as fellow PI and former lover Robert Dietz reenters Kinsey's life. Grafton's heroine?more introspective, yet still feisty and surefooted?leads this finely tuned and at times electrifying tale to a thoroughly satisfying conclusion. 1,000,000 first printing. Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.