48 pages 1 hour read

Sue Grafton

A Is For Alibi

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 1982

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Chapters 21-EpilogueChapter Summaries & Analyses

Chapter 21 Summary

In Chapter 21, Millhone receives two crucial phone calls regarding Laurence’s murder. The first call is from Garry Steinberg, who reveals that Lyle Abernathy, a potential suspect, once apprenticed with a locksmith named Fears. Abernathy was fired for suspected petty thievery, suggesting he had the skills to break into the Fifes’ home.

The second call is from Gwen, who invites Millhone for lunch. Gwen is elegantly dressed and has an air of refinement, qualities that Millhone imagines would have appealed to Laurence. Gwen discloses that her old lover, David Ray, who may have information related to the case, has recently died of a heart attack.

Chapter 22 Summary

Millhone’s day begins with a tense conversation with Nikki Fife and her son, Colin, as she probes into their past activities and relationships. Colin’s reference to Gwen as “Daddy’s mother” (239) raises questions for Millhone. Despite Nikki’s evasiveness and defensiveness, it becomes clear that something isn’t adding up.

Millhone’s next move takes her to John Powers’s house with Charlie, where they encounter Powers’s boisterous dogs. After an awkward beach walk, the atmosphere grows tense again during drinks, as Millhone reveals new information about Laurence’s past affair with Sharon Napier’s mother.