Sue Grafton, author of the Kinsey Millhone Alphabet series, dead at 77

The mystery author has died in Santa Barbara, California.
Mystery writer Sue Grafton poses for a portrait in New York. (Gino Domenico/Associated Press)

Sue Grafton, bestselling mystery author, has died in Santa Barbara. She was 77.

Grafton was surrounded by family, including husband Steven Humphrey, when she died after a two-year battle with cancer.

"Although we knew this was coming, it was unexpected and fast. She had been fine up until just a few days ago, and then things moved quickly," her daughter, Jamie Clark, posted on the author's website.

Grafton began her Kinsey Millhone Alphabet mystery series in 1982 with A is for Alibi. Her most recent book, Y is for Yesterday, was published in August, 2017.

"Many of you also know that she was adamant that her books would never be turned into movies or TV shows, and in that same vein, she would never allow a ghost writer to write in her name," her daughter wrote. "Because of all of those things, and out of the deep abiding love and respect for our dear sweet Sue, as far as we in the family are concerned, the alphabet now ends at Y."

Humphrey said Grafton had been struggling to find an idea for "Z" while undergoing treatment and losing weight.

Grafton began writing at 18, and wrote her first novel at 22. A is for Alibi was the eighth novel she wrote, and the third she had published.

Born in Louisville, Kentucky, Grafton divided her time between a home there and her home in California.

In addition to her husband and daughter Jamie Clark, she is survived by another daughter, Leslie Twine, and her son, Jay Schmidt.

— With files from CBC Books


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.