Over New Year's weekend I read Sue Grafton's latest volume in her alphabet mystery series, U is for Undertow. To read a mystery sometime over the Christmas/New Year's holiday has become somewhat of an unintentional tradition, perhaps stemming back to childhood days of getting at least one Nancy Drew mystery for Christmas and quickly reading cover to cover. This year I realized that for the last handful of years, the mystery--again, unintentionally--had been an alphabet mystery. Kinsey Millhone, the private investigator in Grafton's series, seems a good friend by now whom I'm happy to revisit, having been with her in alphabetical order since A is for Alibi. Strangely, she always motivates me to get my life in order--to do work-related paperwork in a timely manner, to appreciate sitting down to pay bills, to stop work each night at a reasonable time, and to get up and get going to the office early, to act independently and ask good questions, to take more risks and trust my instincts. I even tried peanut butter and pickle sandwiches because of Kinsey and like them. Reading about her limited wardrobe--jeans, a turtleneck and blazer, and a black dress she can roll up in a ball and smoosh into her purse without causing even a trace of a wrinkle--I think she has the wisdom of Einstein, who reportedly wore the same thing every day, and I want to purge my closet. Most importantly, she motivates me to keep using index cards, which I really can't live or work without but in this technological age feel ever more antiquated when I buy a new pack. I'm always sad to get to the end of one of these books because then there is the long wait to the next. Plus the series is almost done, with only the mysteries of V, W, X, Y, and Z left to come.