"J" Is for Judgment

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"J" Is for Judgment_table_infobox_0

"J" Is for Judgment"J" Is for Judgment_table_caption_0
Author"J" Is for Judgment_header_cell_0_0_0 Sue Grafton"J" Is for Judgment_cell_0_0_1
Country"J" Is for Judgment_header_cell_0_1_0 United States"J" Is for Judgment_cell_0_1_1
Language"J" Is for Judgment_header_cell_0_2_0 English"J" Is for Judgment_cell_0_2_1
Series"J" Is for Judgment_header_cell_0_3_0 Alphabet Mysteries"J" Is for Judgment_cell_0_3_1
Genre"J" Is for Judgment_header_cell_0_4_0 Mystery fiction"J" Is for Judgment_cell_0_4_1
Published"J" Is for Judgment_header_cell_0_5_0 1993 Henry Holt and Company"J" Is for Judgment_cell_0_5_1
Media type"J" Is for Judgment_header_cell_0_6_0 Print (Hardcover)"J" Is for Judgment_cell_0_6_1
Pages"J" Is for Judgment_header_cell_0_7_0 288 first edition"J" Is for Judgment_cell_0_7_1
ISBN"J" Is for Judgment_header_cell_0_8_0 978-0-8050-1935-3"J" Is for Judgment_cell_0_8_1
OCLC"J" Is for Judgment_header_cell_0_9_0 "J" Is for Judgment_cell_0_9_1
Dewey Decimal"J" Is for Judgment_header_cell_0_10_0 813/.54 20"J" Is for Judgment_cell_0_10_1
LC Class"J" Is for Judgment_header_cell_0_11_0 PS3557.R13 J2 1993"J" Is for Judgment_cell_0_11_1
Preceded by"J" Is for Judgment_header_cell_0_12_0 "I" Is for Innocent"J" Is for Judgment_cell_0_12_1
Followed by"J" Is for Judgment_header_cell_0_13_0 "K" Is for Killer"J" Is for Judgment_cell_0_13_1

"J" Is for Judgment is the tenth novel in Sue Grafton's "Alphabet" series of mystery novels and features Kinsey Millhone, a private eye based in Santa Teresa, California. "J" Is for Judgment_sentence_0

The novel is set in 1984 and features a significant development in Kinsey's personal back-story, as she discovers that she has extensive family living in the Lompoc area. "J" Is for Judgment_sentence_1

Plot summary "J" Is for Judgment_section_0

July 1984 contains two surprises for Kinsey Millhone, both connected to her past. "J" Is for Judgment_sentence_2

First, California Fidelity Insurance reappears in her life in the form of Mac Voorhies, who wants her help with a case some seven months after his boss Gordon Titus terminated Kinsey's loose employment relationship with CFI. "J" Is for Judgment_sentence_3

Secondly, in the course of the investigation, Kinsey makes a shocking discovery about her own past when she learns she has a family about which she previously knew nothing. "J" Is for Judgment_sentence_4

The case Mac hires Kinsey to investigate is that of Wendell Jaffe, assumed to have died five years previously when his boat, the Captain Stanley Lord, was found drifting off the Baja coast. "J" Is for Judgment_sentence_5

He left behind a suicide note, a number of creditors who had invested in what turned out to be a Ponzi scheme, and a family: a wife, Dana, along with sons Michael and Brian. "J" Is for Judgment_sentence_6

It seemed certain Jaffe had killed himself to avoid the disgrace and jail sentence, which fell instead to his business partner, Carl Eckert. "J" Is for Judgment_sentence_7

But with no body to prove death, CFI made Dana wait the full statutory five years to presume death before paying out on Jaffe's half-million insurance claim; and she has been making ends meet by working as a wedding planner. "J" Is for Judgment_sentence_8

Michael, now 22, has coped reasonably well with suddenly being the man of the house and is a new husband and father himself. "J" Is for Judgment_sentence_9

Eighteen-year-old Brian, on the other hand, is in a mess, currently residing in juvenile hall. "J" Is for Judgment_sentence_10

Two months after the insurance money was finally paid, a former colleague of Mac's has spotted a man he is convinced is Jaffe in Viento Negro, Mexico. "J" Is for Judgment_sentence_11

Mac hires Kinsey to go there and check it out. "J" Is for Judgment_sentence_12

After a little hotel room breaking and entering, she finds Wendell is now known as Dean DeWitt Huff, travelling with a woman called Renata Huff, who has a residence on the quays in Perdido, near Santa Teresa, as well as a boat of her own. "J" Is for Judgment_sentence_13

Before Kinsey can prove his identity, they skip out; on the same day, Brian is arrested in the middle of a botched escape attempt in which a female motorist, as well as his three conspirators, are killed. "J" Is for Judgment_sentence_14

Kinsey is convinced Wendell will be heading back to California to reconnect with his son. "J" Is for Judgment_sentence_15

Doing a door-to-door back in California, Kinsey is astonished to be asked if she is related to the Burton Kinsey family of Lompoc, as she looks so like them. "J" Is for Judgment_sentence_16

Kinsey denies the connection but undertakes a little detective work on her behalf and is amazed to find her mother's father was indeed Burton Kinsey. "J" Is for Judgment_sentence_17

Far from being family-less, Kinsey has cousins, aunts and a grandmother living less than an hour away. "J" Is for Judgment_sentence_18

Her cousin Liza shows up to tell her the family scandal: Kinsey's mother was cut off from her family for marrying Kinsey's father. "J" Is for Judgment_sentence_19

Kinsey is aghast that no one has tried to track her down in the 29 years since her parents were killed and is resentful of any intrusion into her solitude at this late date. "J" Is for Judgment_sentence_20

Her thoughts are dragged back to the case at hand when through an apparent police clerical error, Brian is suddenly released from prison. "J" Is for Judgment_sentence_21

Kinsey is certain Wendell has engineered it and is planning to slip through her fingers again with Brian. "J" Is for Judgment_sentence_22

Renata catches Kinsey red-handed searching on her property but when Kinsey turns the tables (and her own gun) on her, Renata admits Wendell is visiting Michael. "J" Is for Judgment_sentence_23

At last, Kinsey has tracked Jaffe down, but her success is short lived when someone takes potshots at them both and Wendell escapes once more. "J" Is for Judgment_sentence_24

The day after, the Captain Stanley Lord, where Eckert has been living for the past few years, also goes missing while Eckert is away; and when it's found drifting uninhabited a few miles off-shore, there's a distinct sense of deja-vu about Wendell's disappearance. "J" Is for Judgment_sentence_25

Nevertheless, it's enough for CFI: Kinsey has proved Jaffe didn't die and therefore the insurance money can be reclaimed from Dana. "J" Is for Judgment_sentence_26

But Kinsey is dissatisfied—she wants the truth and is prepared to pursue it on her own time. "J" Is for Judgment_sentence_27

She finds Brian, and also finds out from Eckert that there was three million dollars from their fraudulent business scheme on board the missing boat. "J" Is for Judgment_sentence_28

Renata confesses that she killed Wendell, dumped his body at sea, and then set the Lord adrift, making her way back to shore in her own dinghy. "J" Is for Judgment_sentence_29

She then wades out into the sea to kill herself, and Kinsey is unable to stop her. "J" Is for Judgment_sentence_30

Renata's story is apparently confirmed when Jaffe's body washes up on the shore. "J" Is for Judgment_sentence_31

But Renata's never does, leaving Kinsey wondering if she has managed to fake her own death just like Wendell. "J" Is for Judgment_sentence_32

Characters "J" Is for Judgment_section_1

"J" Is for Judgment_unordered_list_0

  • Kinsey Millhone: Private investigator who is asked to again work for the insurance company that severed ties months earlier."J" Is for Judgment_item_0_0

Reception "J" Is for Judgment_section_2

"J" Is for Judgment was a New York Times best-seller and had an initial press run of nearly half a million copies. "J" Is for Judgment_sentence_33


Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/"J" Is for Judgment.