by Cheryl Crabtree
Santa Teresa—the geographic pseudonym for Santa Barbara—plays a pivotal role as the main setting in the world-renowned alphabet series of the Kinsey Millhone detective mysteries (A is for Alibi, B is for Burglar, etc.), written by part-time Montecito resident Sue Grafton, whose latest tome, V is for Vengeance, began flying off bookstore shelves in November.
Several Santa Teresa roads and landmarks bear the exact same names as their Santa Barbara counterparts (State Street, Highway 101, Cold Spring Bridge), while others reflect Grafton’s witty play with words and letters.
In honor of SEASONS’ tenth anniversary, here are ten Santa Teresa place names and their Santa Barbara equivalents that appear in V is for Vengeance.* Looking for a fun activity? Read the book, then follow Kinsey’s routes throughout town as she walks, drives, jogs and investigates her way to a stunning mystery wrap.
1. Passages Shopping Plaza = Paseo Nuevo Kinsey shops at Nordstrom and witnesses a shoplifter in action—an incident that launches the story.
2. Montebello = Montecito Pivotal characters Nora and Dante have homes in this wealthy enclave. They wine and dine with friends at Nine Palms Country Club (Birnam Wood).
3. Paloma Lane = Padaro Lane Site of Dante’s beach house.
4. Horton Ravine = Hope Ranch Kinsey seeks information on a black Mercedes parked in Climping Academy’s parking lot (Laguna Blanca School).
5. Harley’s Beach = Arroyo Burro Beach Locals call this beloved stretch of sand below the bluffs by its earlier moniker, Hendry’s Beach.
6. Cabaña Boulevard = Cabrillo Boulevard Kinsey lives just a block away and jogs along the waterfront most weekdays.
7. Ludlow Beach = Leadbetter Beach Kinsey and a police investigator share information over lunch at The Shack at Ludlow Beach (Shoreline Cafe).
8. La Cuesta Shopping Plaza = La Cumbre Plaza Kinsey watches a deposit of goods in a drop-off bin and their subsequent transfer in the mall parking lot.
9. Juniper Lane = Junipero Street Kinsey hangs out in a car at a private residence, observing a home across the street.
10. St. Terry’s Hospital = Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital Detective work and criminal acts often result in injured characters, who typically wind up in St. Terry’s emergency room.
*Deductions based on clues in the book, plus G is for Grafton: The World of Kinsey Millhone by Natalie Hevener Kaufman and Carol McGinnis Kay (New York: Henry Holt, 1997).
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