Let’s see. This must be the 19th book in Sue Grafton’s alphabet series. So it must be also be the 19th that I’ve read, since of course I’ve read them all in order — mostly because they’ve been published that way, but also because that’s the sort of person I am. I would have attempted to read them in order even if I had had random access to them.
Anyway, since Grafton has clearly latched onto a successful formula, she feels constrained to continue to follow it for the most part, but she also makes a number of changes in S is for Silence. Although it’s all nominally a first-person report — as always — it also contains frequent flashbacks in the form of chapters that take place fifty years ago. (That’ fifty years ago compared to the “present” of the mid-80s, where Grafton’s books are still taking place. Like most long-lasting series, the action doesn’t advance in the real-time calendar of publishing dates.) Conflict and character development place more of a role than they do in most mysteries, and some of the familiarities of previous installments fade almost into the background here. I don’t know what it would be like to read S is for Silence if you weren’t familiar with the rest of the series, but definitely read it if you’re a faithful Sue Grafton fan.