Memory is the catalyst for Kinsey Milhone’s U outing, when she is contacted by a young man who has recollected a childhood incident that may be connected to a decades old, unsolved kidnapping. Kinsey’s intrigued, and using the plain, old-fashioned technique of searching public records and the library, finds a surprising number of clues, when following them up, however, the pieces won’t quite fit together. Meanwhile, she receives an invitation from her recently discovered maternal relatives, which stirs up all kinds of uncomfortable feelings. Kinsey is basically a loner, but her friends, landlord Henry and detective who trusts her, are there for her when she needs someone on which to air her thoughts.
Undertow opens with a statement from Kinsey: “Here’s the odd part. In my ten years as a private eye, this was the first case I ever managed to resolve without crossing paths with the bad guys. Except at the end, of course.” This is a mystery in which the identity of the kidnapper seems obvious, yet it is anything but. Kinsey’s actions at the very end illustrate her tenacity and willingness to behave in accordance with her principles. She’s a tough lady, a good person who deserves more good things than life has heretofore given her.