Sue Grafton, Author of Alphabet Mystery Novels, Dies at 77

Sue Grafton, author of the popular Kinsey Millhone alphabet mystery series, died on Thursday in Santa Barbara, Calif. She was 77.

Grafton’s daughter, Jamie Clark, announced her mother’s death on her Grafton’s Facebook page. She said her mom died after a two-year battle with cancer.

“Although we knew this was coming, it was unexpected and fast,” her daughter wrote. “She had been fine up until just a few days ago, and then things moved quickly.”

Grafton’s Kinsey Millhone series followed a private investigator in a fictional California town, based on Santa Barbara. Each book title began with a different letter of the alphabet. The last book she wrote in the series was “Y is for Yesterday,” which was released in August. In a nod to her mother’s work, Clark wrote “As far as we in the family are concerned, the alphabet now ends at Y.”

Outside of the series, the author wrote screenplays for the TV adaptations of Agatha Christie’s novels “Sparkling Cyanide” and “A Caribbean Mystery.” Grafton co-wrote the screenplay for “Lolly-Madonna XXX,” the Richard C. Sarafian film based on Grafton’s 1969 novel, “The Lolly-Madonna War.”

“Sue always said that she would continue writing as long as she had the juice,” Clark said. “Many of you 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.”

Grafton is survived by her husband, Steve F. Humphrey, three children, and multiple grandchildren.

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