As far as Sue Grafton’s family is concerned, “the alphabet now ends at Y.”
In a message on the author’s Facebook page, Grafton’s daughter, Jamie, posted to let the author’s fans know Grafton has passed away “after a two year battle with cancer.” See was 77.
Grafton’s most recent book, Y is for Yesterday, was published last August, a book that the New York Times’ Marilyn Stasio compared favorably with earlier entries in Grafton’s well-loved Kinsey Milhone series.
I interviewed Grafton for January Magazine in 1997, just as we were beginning publication. At the time, the novels had already gained a firm international following, even though she was only halfway through the alphabet. “All of a sudden,” she told me in 1997, “people are all asking me what happens when I run out of alphabet. I think it’s their own abandonment issues. So I have to assure them: mother loves you and we’re all going to be together forever.” Even though, at the time, Grafton figured she’d be 109 by the time she got through the alphabet.
Though best known and loved for the Kinsey Milhone novels, Grafton started her career as a mainstream novelist. Her first published book was the fourth book she’d written: Keziah Dane published was in 1967. The fifth book — the second published book — was called The Lolly-Madonna War. “That’s the one that was made into a film,” Grafton told me, leaving her forever disenchanted with Hollywood and vowing never to sell Kinsey for film or television. “It came out in 1973 with Rod Steiger and Robert Ryan and Gary Busey and Jeff Bridges. It was a very terrible movie but a great cast. And I learned a lot. So that’s the way life goes.” ◊