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review 2019-11-04 15:16
Kinsey Moves Settings to Slightly Average Results
N Is For Noose (Kinsey Millhone Mystery) - Sue Grafton

Not a bad look at Kinsey, just not that interesting I have to say. When Kinsey tends to leave Santa Teresa the story-line often suffers. This one just fell flat to me. I think that is because it's a lot of Kinsey not putting a lot of stuff together and the ending leaving things up in the air about what happens to someone. I don't like unresolved story-lines, and this one wasn't resolved to me.

"N is for Noose" has Kinsey agreeing to go and work for a client that is referred to her by Dietz. Kinsey drives to Carson City to take care of Dietz after he has surgery and quickly realizes she's aching for some alone time. When Dietz tells her about a case she can quickly look into she decides to take it. Kinsey arrives in the town of Nota Lake to meet with the widow of the former sheriff, Tom Newquist. Tom was found in his patrol car dead after suffering a heart attack. It does not appear to be foul play, but Tom's widow, Selma believes that something was weighing on his mind and wants to know if that could have caused him stress and could have led to his heart attack. Kinsey thinks the whole thing is just Selma throwing away good money, but she quickly starts to figure out that something is not quite right in Nota Lake, and that maybe someone out there knows what was causing Tom stress.

So Kinsey was just alright in this one. She keeps doing dumb things after dumb things which makes you wonder how she even survived as long as she has as an investigator. I think at one point when I read this for the first time through years ago, wondered if Grafton was setting up Kinsey to be murdered. Kinsey gets attacked in this one and wonders why someone is out there trying to hurt her since she can't figure out what if anything Tom's job had to do with what was troubling him. 

The characters we meet in this one don't really matter cause they are never referred to again in other books. One of the reasons why I loathe when Kinsey leaves Santa Teresa, we don't get a look at the usual suspects. I didn't care for Selma (the widow) at all and thought her son (Brant) was a jerk. The townspeople and people he worked with were secretive and definitely seemed hostile towards Selma and her attempts to figure out what was troubling her husband before his death. 

The writing was not really working for me much in this one. Still pretty solid, but I think the whole plot-line about what was troubling Tom was weak as hell. When we get the reveal my whole head hurt and honestly just decided to go with it. The flow was pretty good throughout, but after a while though it felt like Grafton was throwing stuff out there to keep the story going as long as she did.

The setting of Nota Lake reads like a town about to die out. The people there all seemed so off-putting and hostile I got why Kinsey didn't care for it either. After Kinsey is beaten, she returns to Santa Teresa and would not have blamed her for not returning. 

The ending as I said leaves things hanging about the culprit who tried to killed Kinsey. 

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text 2015-11-10 16:42
Saved from the Noose Romance
Shanna - Kathleen E. Woodiwiss
The Texan's Wager - Jodi Thomas
The Marriage Debt - Louise Allen
Seduction of the Phoenix - Michelle M. Pillow
The Wives of Bowie Stone - Maggie Osborne
The Lassoed by Marriage Romance Collection: 9 Historical Romances Begin After Saying "I Do" - Rebecca Jepson,Gina Welborn,Amy Lillard,Angela Breidenbach,Rose Ross Zediker,Angela Bell,Kathleen Y'Barbo,Mary Connealy,Lisa Carter
Beauty's Beast - Amanda Ashley
Shadow's Stand - Sarah McCarty
Wild West Brides - Cathy Maxwell,Ruth Langan,Carolyn Davidson
Border Wedding - Amanda Scott

I adore Marriage of Convenience tropes. Love all that forced proxmity with a stranger you have to build a life with....yeah... so gooood.


One of my very favorite sub tropes is Save From The Noose Marriage of Convenience. This is a plot where the hero or heroine is about to be hung or imprisoned for a very long time and gets out of it by marrrying. Yep. Love it. 


Can't seem to find out if this was actually ever a law but in Romanceland it is and my guess is there is some truth to the practice. 


Here are some wonderful Romances with this Theme. 


1. Shanna by Kathleen E. Woodiwiss


A pact is sealed in secret behind the foreboding walls of Newgate Prison. In return for a night of unparalleled pleasure, a dashing condemned criminal consents to wed a beautiful heiress, thereby rescuing her with his name from an impending and abhorred arranged union. But in the fading echoes of hollow wedding vows, a solemn promise is broken, as a sensuous free spirit takes flight to a lush Caribbean paradise, abandoning the stranger she married to face the gallows unfulfilled.


But Ruark Beauchamp's destiny is now eternally intertwined with that of the tempestuous, intoxicating Shanna. He will be free . . . and he will find her. For no iron ever forged can imprison his resolute passion. And no hangman's noose will deny Ruark the ecstasy that is rightfully his. 


2. The Texan's Wager by Jodi Thomas


Thrown off a wagon train with two other women and trying to avoid jail for a murder they committed, Bailee Moore agrees to enter a “Wife Lottery”—a ploy concocted by the Cedar Point sheriff to secure wives for the men in the small Texas town. For the sensible Bailee, however, marrying Carter McKoy is like exchanging one life sentence for another—especially since her new husband hasn’t even seen fit to utter a single word in her presence. But still, she can’t help thinking that something about this strong, silent farmer could be the key to leaving her troubled past behind…and making a worthy wager with her heart.


3. The Marriage Debt by Louise Allen


Marrying a highwayman awaiting execution is Katherine Cunningham's only hope - for that way her debts will die with him. But it turns out that her husband, Nicholas Lydgate, is innocent - and the son of a duke! Katherine is determined to save his life, as she is attracted to Nicholas, but she won't hold him to a union until he shows he cares for her...


4. Seduction of the Phoenix by Michelle M. Pillow


A prince raised in honor and tradition, a woman raised with nothing at all. She wants to steal their most sacred treasure. He’ll do anything to protect it, even if it means marrying a thief. 

Prince Zhang Jin is a man raised in honor and tradition, so it is a great surprise when he is compelled to claim a stranger as his bride who has neither. Francesca La Rosa is hardly a match fit for a prince. Though beautiful, she is a thief with one thing on her mind--stealing the sacred Jade Phoenix of his people. But the mystery doesn't end there. With the aid of the spirits of his ancestors he must discover who this woman is, why she would destroy the Zhang Empire and most of all, if she could ever return the love that is growing in his heart.


5. The Wives of Bowie Stone by Maggie Osborne


Knowing that she can save the life of a condemned man by offering to marry him, Rosie Mulvehey opts for a marriage of convenience to ex-cavalry man Bowie Stone, who promises to save her rundown farm as his part of the agreement.


6. The Lassoed by Marriage Romance Collection by Angela BellAngela BreidenbachLisa CarterMary Connealy, Rebecca Jepson Amy LillardGina WelbornKathleen Y'Barbo, and Rose Ross Zediker  


Come along on a romantic journey jam-packed with all the angst of marriages founded upon practical choices as well as coercion. Meet nine couples who barely know each other before they find themselves suddenly married—to please family, to stem the tide of gossip, to save the land—and joined for life. But can love grow when duty comes before romance? 


7. Beauty's Beast by Amanda Ashley



Fair of face and figure, Kristine is young, innocent, pure. Yet she has been condemned to the gallows for killing a man. The only one who can save her is a lord so infamous that some say he is the son of the Devil himself. . .

And the Beast

Erik Trevayne is called the Demon Lord of Hawksbridge Castle, but few know of the curse he lives under. Or the terrifying changes slowly gnawing away at his humanity. When he weds her, all he wants of Kristine is a son. But when he beds her, a wild hope is born--that love that can tame even the most monstrous of beasts. . .


8. Shadow's Stand by Sarah McCarty


Shadow Ochoa is lying low in the western Kansas Territory, waiting for his fellow Texas Rangers—the Hell's Eight brotherhood—to clear his name. That is, until he's unjustly strung up for horse thieving…and pretty Fei Yen intervenes. Invoking a seldom-used law, the exotic lady prospector claims Shadow as her husband and rides off with the bridegroom shackled to her buckboard.

Savvy, fearless Fei is single-mindedly devoted to her hidden claim and all it promises: wealth, security and freedom. A husband is just a necessary inconvenience and a name on paper to hold the claim she cannot.

Shadow isn't a man to take orders from anyone, especially from lovely Fei—except that the daily friction between them ignites into nightly blazes of all-consuming passion. Soon Shadow is dreaming a little himself: of the life they could have if only Fei could see past the lure of independence. If only bounty hunters weren't closing in on him. If only he's left standing when the impending showdown has ended….


9. Wild West Brides by Cathy Maxwell, Ruth Langan, and Carolyn Davidson 


Flanna and the Lawman by Cathy Maxwell

Desperate for someone to help her protect her land, a female con artist saves an ex-lawman from the hangman's noose by claiming him as her no-good husband, and finds herself wanting to turn their charade into a real marriage. 


This Side of Heaven by Ruth Langan

When a runaway and her young nephew find a safe haven with a solitary Montana rancher, three lonely people become a family, until their peace is threatened by the boy's father, bent on vengeance. 


Second Chance Bride by Carolyn Davidson

His mail-order bride's deceit had stung him to the quick, but the pregnant widow's care of his four-year-old daughter had Jebediah rethinking his vow to send her packing as soon as her baby was born.


10. Border Wedding by Amanda Scott


Captured in 1388 in the act of stealing back his own cattle, young Sir William Scott faces hanging, then gets one other choice--to marry immediately his captor's eldest daughter, the lady Margaret Murray, known by all as Muckle-Mouth Meggie. With the line between England and Scotland shifting daily, the Earl of Douglas wants to win back every inch of Scotland that the English have claimed; whereas the equally powerful English Percies (under Hotspur) want to win back the land between Northumberland and Edinburgh; and the Murray family is caught in the middle, shifting its alliances to try to survive. Uncertain whether she is English or Scottish and abruptly married to Sir William who is staunchly loyal to the cause of Scottish independence but who also has promised he'll never take up arms against her family, Meg Murray learns two things: first, Will's word is his bond; second, her favorite brother is spying on Douglas for Hotspur. As Sir Will faces the dilemma of honoring his word to the unscrupulous Murray without betraying Douglas, Meg must choose between betraying the husband with whom she is rapidly falling in love, or betraying her own family and best-loved brother.


Got more? Gimme! 


Vote for the best of the best on my Goodreads list: Saved from the Noose Romance 

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review 2014-10-05 15:17
N is for Noose (Kinsey Millhone #14) - Sue Grafton
N is for Noose - Sue Grafton

When former detective Tom Newquist dies suddenly, people were not surprised. It was common knowledge he didn't take good care of himself, so this was bound to happen sooner or later. However, his widow Selma keeps wandering what was it that had him so worried in the last weeks. He didn't talk about his job and now she'll never find out what was bothering him. So she hires Kinsey to look into the last weeks of Tom's life, so maybe she can have some closure. Unfortunately, since Tom was very loved in his town, nobody likes Kinsey looking into his business. But, is that all there is? Are they trying to hide something else?


Not one of her best, but I still enjoyed reading Kinsey. Given her independent personality, it was interesting to see her "trapped" in a small town, where everybody knows everything about everyone, and nobody wants her there. After being brutally attacked in an effort to make her leave the case and go back home, Kinsey knows she's not that kind of woman. She doesn't want to be the type of person that runs away when things get rough. She will get to the bottom of it all even if it kills her.


Four stars!


[I'm counting this one for the Cruisin' Thru the Cozies Reading Challenge 2014]

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review 2013-06-04 09:58
The creepiest Kinsey yet
"N" is for Noose - Sue Grafton

When N is for Noose begins, Kinsey is just leaving Dietz at his home, having helped him recover from his knee surgery.  She is driving up to a small town in the mountains to talk to a potential client referred to her by Dietz.  The client’s husband died recently and while it appears to be a natural death of a heart attack, she wants to know what was bothering him the last six weeks of his life.  

The description of behavior in a small town when an outsider starts asking questions may be a bit more extreme than what I think it realistic but not too far off the mark.  The atmosphere gets very creepy very quickly as Kinsey digs deeper into the case.  People want her to stop and they make that clear.

The ending is satisfying and I actually didn’t see it coming as quickly as I did with some of the earlier Kinsey mysteries.  This one is much more of a page-turner than the last few have been!

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review 2013-05-08 00:00
"N" is for Noose (Kinsey Millhone #14) - Sue Grafton I liked the story itself but hated the narrator, Mary Peiffer. She mispronounced the city names, read too fast and provided zero inflection so everything was flat and monotone. She was unable to vary her voice so all female characters sounded the same which made it difficult to follow conversations. I could tell male from female characters but that was it. I must have picked up a cut-rate production from the library because the audio listed on GRs shows Judy Kaye as the narrator but this wasn't that production. Judy Kaye does a phenomenal job being Kinsey Millhone.

Kinsey is hired to find out why Selma Newquist's husband was acting strangely before his unexpected death. As always, I liked how Kinsey thought. She works methodically and usually thinks outside the box which provides interesting and quick results. The only character I actually liked besides Kinsey was her landlord, Henry Pitts - he's such a sweetie. I thought this one was rather suspenseful and had a real feel of danger.
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