Tag Archives: Sue Grafton

Saying Goodbye to Sue

Posted on writer Sue Grafton’s Facebook page Friday December 29th…

“Hello Dear Readers. This is Sue’s daughter, Jamie. I am sorry to tell you all that Sue passed away last night after a two year battle with cancer. She was surrounded by family, including her devoted and adoring husband Steve. 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. Sue always said that she would continue writing as long as she had the juice. 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. 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.”

The first Sue Grafton novel I read was “D is for Deadbeat.”  It was around 1989 and the book came as part of my new book club offering.  For those who are unfamiliar (or are too young to remember books before the internet), mail order book clubs would gain new members by offering a number of books for a dollar if you committed to joining the club and purchasing 3 or 4 other books at regular price within the next year.  I was always part of at least one book club then and often surfed from one to another collecting my discount novels.  Usually they were books that were left from previous years.

It didn’t take me long to get hooked on Sue and her character Kinsey Millhone.  I went through letter “D” pretty fast and then immediately fulfilled my membership agreement by ordering “A” “B” and “C”! I was 27 years old in 1989 and reaching the end of my first marriage. My life was in a place where Kinsey’s independence and moxie appealed to me.  I wanted to live in a converted one car garage and run my own private detective agency.  I wanted to make all my own choices (good or bad), drink wine and eat peanut butter and pickle sandwiches instead of figuring out a grocery list and doing laundry. Kinsey rocked, even if people did occasionally shoot at her.

Over the next twenty something years, my life included some big changes but Sue and Kinsey remained a constant.  Every year I looked forward to the next letter, the next novel, to see what they were up to.  Surprisingly, even after so many books, Sue was able to keep the character and the stories fresh and interesting.  In some of the more recent novels she began writing entire chapters from a different characters point of view, or taking the reader back in time to the original crime and then switching back to Kinsey’s take on the situation. Another quirk about Kinsey’s world that appealed to me was that she was still still living and detecting in the 1980s, each of her stories moving just months beyond the one before.  This meant she didn’t have cell phones or the internet and had to solve her mysteries using good old fashioned brain power aided only by library cross reference books, microfiche, and what ever info she could get out of the witnesseses.  She also had a habit of keeping notes on 5×7 index cards that she could shuffle and rearrange to see if a pattern appeared.

I was already a dedicated fan and quite in love with Sue Grafton by the time “X” came out in 2015.  We had a relationship dating back years and I had my favorite books and characters already but this novel quickly became the most favorite because on the beginning page of a chapter half way through, quite by happenstance, Sue used my son’s full name for a minor character.  Seeing his name in print was pretty cool and then when I glanced up at the number of the chapter, I realized it was also my son’s favorite number, the number he wore on every sports jersey through out high school because he considered it lucky! It was a weird enough coincidence that I was compelled to send  a note to her Facebook page. I explained what a big fan I was and how she had simply made my day with this happy accident.  Two days later I received this reply:

“What a lovely surprise for you. Can’t remember where I came up with the name. Maybe a spirit visit in the dead of night. Tell him he’s now been immortalized and not even as one of the criminal element. Thanks for your note. What a hoot.”

I regulary go through my Messenger account and delete messages so the fact that this note is still on my feed should tell you what a big deal it is to me!

Now, sadly, there will be no more Kinsey.  Her story and the stories of all the other characters  Ms Grafton so lovingly brought into existence are now in limbo.  I suppose that its up to each of us, those readers,  who have invested so much in Sue’s world to finish their stories as we see fit.  It will never live up to the endings she would have chosen but I’m just happy I was along for the ride.  For me, personally,  my thoughts and sympathies go out to Sue’s family with love and appreciation for all the enjoyment Sue Grafton brought to me and to all the other countless fans of Kinsey Millhone.   For us, as her daughter so perfectly stated , “the alphabet now ends in Y.”

–Respectfully submitted,

A Fan

If We Were Having Coffee…1/31/16


This post is part of the Weekend Coffee Share hosted by Diana at Part Time Monster. Run over and check it out!

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If we were having coffee….you might take a look at the mug I’m using and think, “Hmm, I suspect that it has been a rather challenging week around here.”

You would be correct. It has been a long, cold, dark week and I was overjoyed when Friday came along. It’s not even February yet and I am already so done with winter. See, my feeling about the cold weather is that once Christmas is over we should move right into spring. I’m craving sunshine so badly that I actually moved the cat yesterday and stole her sun spot.

I am not proud of this behavior.

If we were having coffee…I would ask you how you spent your week…andif you live in an area enjoying warmth and sunshine please tell me all about it…….in detail! Did you walk around in bare feet? Did you open the windows and dig in your garden? Did you sit on your porch with a good book and a glass of iced tea?? Come on, throw me a bone! I’m losing it here!!!

Sorry. Maybe we should just move on.

I’ll tell you about my week instead.

If we were having coffee….I would share that I actually did have a highlight to my week. One of my favorite authors responded to a Facebook note I sent her! Sue Grafton writes a series of mystery novels based on the letters of the alphabet. She started with “A” is now on “X” so she and I have a had a very long literary relationship, but I’ve never written a fan letter till now. The reason I felt the urge now was because she picked my son’s full name to use for a character in this book! Oddly, she also introduced said character at the beginning of the chapter that is the same number as his birthdate! It was such a thrill for me to see his name in print and such a weird coincidence that I wanted to share it with Ms Grafton and tell her how she “inadvertently made my day!”

Her response was short and to the point but she “sounded” just like I always thought she would….

“What a lovely surprise for you. Can’t remember where I came up with the name. Maybe a spirit visit in the dead of night. Tell him he’s now been immortalized and not even as one of the criminal element. Thanks for your note. What a hoot!…Sue”

If we were having coffee…I could also tell you about the lovely evening Hubby and I had last night listening to music at a local winery (I know it seems like I spend a lot of time at wineries, but I don’t, really 😉). We were invited by my father-in-law and his wife and had the most amazing pizza ever. I think, however, I will save the details and share them in my “Weekly Smile” post on Wednesday. It was definitely a smile worthy outing!

Well, I’m off to be productive (hopefully). The temperature is suppose to go up to 50 today so that makes the prospect much more likely! 😊 Thanks so much for stopping by!

B is for Books

This was an easy one. All I had to do was look around me. There are books in every room of my house and yes, that includes the bathroom! But as I look at the covers and titles of these book, I realize how much of my adult history can be told through them.

In my early twenties, on a quest for independents and enlightenment I decided to read my way through the classics. On a table in my hall between  the bookends my mom made are copies of  The Great Gatsby, Sun Also Rises, To Kill a Mockingbird and on my shelves is The Complete Works of William Shakespere  (which, I’ll admit, I never actually read but it has come in handy for flattening out posters).image

Later, as a young wife I developed a passion for mystery novels, which are represented by the entire (so far) collection of Sue Grafton’s  Alphabet Series, along with The Cat Who… novels by Lillian Jackson Braun.

On to my thirties when I was in between marriages and a working woman thirsting for new adventures. Here on this shelf sits Michael Crichton and John Grisham. I confess, I have read Jurassic Park and The Firm more times than I can count.

Next, I met the love of my life, bought a house and started a family. This began my love of science fiction and fantasy novels (I could say it was because my life had become like a fairy tale but that would be really corny). One shelf in my living room is dedicated to The Lord of the Rings and The Chronicles of Narnia. Later on they were joined by books about witches and vampires by authors like Charlaine Harris and Patricia Briggs.

On came the children! With them came all the classic children’s books of course, but when they grew old enough for us to read novels together we began with Harry Potter and continued through Percy Jackson. Personally, I really enjoy YA books and on my shelves now are novels like  Inkheart,  The Hunger Games, and Perks of Being a Wallflower. 

imageNow I am at the beginning of my fifties and my choice in books has become very eclectic. I might go back and reread a classic or pick up a mystery. The last book I finished was called Bless the Bride and was a paperback I had picked up for my mom who passed away in October. She was an avid reader too and I’m sure I got my love of books from her just as my daughter has gotten this from me. I miss being able to talk about what I’m reading with my mom but I’m glad I have so many of her books to remember her by.

So basically, I am the sum of my bookshelves. My history is written (pun intended) right there in front of me. As Thomas Jefferson said “I cannot live without books!”