January 3, 2018
The publishing world lost a legend and friend, Sue Grafton, #1 New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal– bestselling author of the ground-breaking Alphabet Mystery series featuring beloved Private Investigator Kinsey Millhone, died on Thursday, December 28 in Santa Barbara after a two-year battle with cancer of the appendiceil. She was 77.expand
(c) Steven Humphrey[/caption] Anyway, here's to you, Sue. You're the best.” More remembrances came from the likes of C.J. Box, Robert Crais, Daniel Silva, Eric Jerome Dickey, Harlan Coben, Lisa Scottoline, Ruth Ware. Sandra Brown, Sara Paretsky, Jeff Abbott, Laura Lippman, Faye Kellerman, Debbie Macomber, Alafair Burke, and Meg Gardiner, to name a few. Sue and Kinsey will be remembered as international icons (both adored a peanut butter and pickle sandwich and a timeless black wrap dress) and treasured by millions of readers across lines of gender, geography, age, race, and creed. As Grafton’s daughter, Jamie, said in a statement on the author’s Facebook Page, “the alphabet now ends at Y.” A personal remembrance from Marian Wood, Sue Grafton’s longtime editor and friend: “In 1980, I got 60 pages of a manuscript. It was a snowy day and more bad weather was forecast, so I grabbed the 60 pages plus a couple of manuscripts and rode back to Brooklyn to enjoy a few snow days at home. “I can tell you, I was stunned by those 60 pages. I wanted more. I wanted the whole book. I wanted to publish this amazing writer. “But there was an obstacle. My publisher. “‘I don’t get it,’ he said after reading those sixty pages. Luckily, I had already given them to the marketing director, who did get it and we became a team, and the publisher caved. That was the beginning of A Is for Alibi. You might say the rest is history as the books took off and the market grew exponentially. “I’m a seat-of-the pants editor. When I read something and the bomb goes off in my head, I know it’s for me, I know it’s amazing, I know with backing, we can make it fly. And so it was with the alphabet series. And sales multiplied with each new book. “Sue Grafton was a find all right. She was also an extraordinary human being. Already forty with a ton of experience being pushed around by movie personnel, all she wanted was control over her work—no interference from pseudo-smart twenty-five year old movie mavens. Books offered her that. Let me tell you, by the time we connected, she was a tough, smart, and dedicated craftswoman and also the most generous and kindest writer you could work with. And so, for forty years, we worked and laughed and loved Kinsey. And so did the world it seemed. “In truth, it was a marriage made in heaven though the then agent could never have known that. In my youth, I loathed Nancy Drew and could not tolerate Agatha Christie. But here, in Kinsey, was my dream character: sharp, funny, vulnerable, and tough. And a little off the grid when it came to relationships thanks to an irregular childhood and an aunt who sort of raised her. This was a new kind of detective: a woman with quirks but also with a sense of herself, with empathy but also with street smarts. She opened a door for me and for thousands of women and, yes, men. It was a revelation how quickly men caught on to this oddball but terrific woman. She broke the gender barrier. There is a reason so many men and women named their daughters Kinsey over the years. “Thank you Sue: You made a real difference in the lives of so many men and women even as you entertained us with so many wonderful and sometimes really scary books. “My good fortune increased by the time Sue was ready to take on the next letter. A Is for Alibi was selling like crazy, and Sue had gathered up her courage, left her agent, and took on Molly Friedrich, who has been with her—and me—since B Is for Burglar. I like to think we have made a really good team. “Sue died this December. She had finished the letter Y in the series. There will never be a letter Z. Just as she did not want anyone tampering with her work and therefore forbade any movies made from her books, so she made it clear there would never be a ghost writer. So with Y Is for Yesterday, the alphabet ends. "