In 1982 Sue Grafton introduced private investigator Kinsey Milhone and the "alphabet" series was born. Grafton passed away in 2017 but she left us a gem of a series with these novels which finished using all of the letters but Z.
Grafton's father was a writer of detective fiction and Grafton's first attempts at novels were in that genre. However they did not enjoy commercial success and she turned to writing screenplays. Always fascinated with series whose titles were somehow related, like John D. McDonald's series of "color" novels, Grafton hit on the idea after reading Edward Gorey's Gashlycrumb Tinies.
Each of the books is told from Milhone's perspective and is reminiscent of the "hard-boiled" detective novel of the 1950's. Grafton described Milhone as "the person I might have been had I not married young and had children". Milhone is tough and single, though clearly heterosexual and complex.
The alphabet series is consistently rated at about 3.95 on Goodreads with some slight variation. A is for Alibi currently stands at a 3.82. The series is recommended for those who like their detective fiction told in first person and a little hard-boiled.
From the back:
"Laurence Fife was a slick divorce lawyer and slippery ladies' man. Until someone killed him. The jury believed that it was his pretty young wife, Nikki, so they sent her to prison for eight years. Now Nikki's out on parole and Kinsey Millhone's in for trouble. Nikki hires Kinsey to discover who really killed her husband. But the trail is eight years cold, and at the end is a chilling twist even Kinsey doesn't suspect--a second eight-year-old murder and a brand-new corpse."
A is for Alibi is available on Biblio for as little as $3.94, including shipping.
Me as a critic (be careful! the harshness will be well concealed!)