Sue Grafton, the prolific and successful author of the “alphabet” mysteries, died Thursday night, her daughter Jamie Clark stated at Grafton’s website. Grafton had battled cancer for two years, but the Santa Barbara resident’s death was “unexpected and fast.” Clark wrote that Grafton refused movie and television offers for the series, as well as suggestions of a ghost writer to continue the series. “[O]ut 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.”
Grafton unveiled her invention in 1982 in A is for Alibi, set in the fictional town of Santa Teresa, which is often a dead ringer for Santa Barbara. Her earthy and tough detective Kinsey Millhone had 25 adventures, through Y is for Yesterday, which was released this year.
In a 2015 interview with the Indy‘s Barney Brantingham when X came out, Grafton had said it was getting harder to write the successive books, “I’m trying not to repeat myself,” requiring long walks and longer journal entries (which can be found at suegrafton.com). Grafton and her husband, Steven Humphrey, had lived in both Montecito and her native Kentucky, she told Brantingham. Grafton was 77 at the time of her death.