Over the past few years, I've found myself fantasizing a macabre math problem when reading Sue Grafton books. Something like: "Paul is 59 years old and has finished reading Q is for Quarry. Sue is 70 years old and has written (so far) up to U is for Undertow. A is for Alibi was written in 1982. Paul started reading the series in 1984. What are the chances they both make it to Z?"
Here, Ms. Grafton's heroine private eye, Kinsey Millhone, takes on a seemingly hopeless case. Nearly twenty years back, the badly decomposed body of a girl was found in a Lompoc quarry; she was never identified, and eventually the investigation petered out. Kinsey teams up with two older policemen, at their request, to see if they can make any progress in this very cold case. (Of course, it wouldn't be much of a story if they didn't.)
Along the way, Kinsey deals with a number of frustrating dead ends. But eventually the trail leads to tiny Quorum, California. And things immediately got way too confusing for me, as about a dozen characters/suspects are introduced all at once. Fortunately, Kinsey can keep them straight, and leads things to a successful and satisfying solution. She also gets to show off her marksmanship.
As revealed in the author's afterword, the book is based on an real-life case. You can read about that on Ms. Grafton's website.