Tuesday, September 24, 2013

S is for Sue Grafton

The fabulous Kerry Hammond talks about her love for the books by Sue Grafton. 

I try to attend as many author signings as I can—let’s face it, I’m a groupie. I feel very lucky to have the locally owned Tattered Cover Bookstore chain near me. I scour their emailed newsletters for author events and when I saw that Sue Grafton was coming to sign her new book “W” is for Wasted, I couldn’t keep the smile off my face.

I started reading Sue Grafton’s alphabet series at the end of the 1980s, but her first Kinsey Millhone novel was published in 1982. It was called “A” is for Alibi, and launched what is commonly known as the alphabet series. I was a Kinsey fan immediately. I love her quirky, strong, self-sufficiency, and often laugh out loud at the things she does. What normal woman trims her own hair with nail scissors?

Readers of the series, if asked why they like it so much, will not only talk about Kinsey. The books have a supporting cast of characters that add to the fun on a regular basis. From Aunt Gin, who raised Kinsey when her parents were killed, to her octogenarian landlord, Henry Pitts. As with most single women, her life is fraught with relationships that don’t quite work out, and love interests that seem to make things more complicated. When you put all of these things together, you come up with wonderfully entertaining books that appeal to mystery fans of all ages. 

This series is no different than most in the fact that Grafton’s novels are better if read in order. There’s just something about following a character through her trials and tribulations in the order in which the author conceived them. But what happens when we reach “Z?” That’s a question that many Grafton fans are wondering. The plan seems to be that “Z” is for Zero will be published in 2019, when the author will be 79 years old. She has indicated that she may end the series at that point, in order to go out on a good note rather than run the series into the ground. But who knows what might happen between now and then.

And for those of you waiting for the new Poirot to be penned by a writer other than Agatha Christie, in a recent Publishers Weekly article, Lenny Picker explains that “Grafton revealed that she has pledged to her children to haunt them from beyond the grave if they even thought of having another’s hand penning more Kinsey Millhone.” 

If Grafton does end up calling it a day at “Z,” readers will have to be content with Kinsey living on in their minds rather than on the page.


  1. I just saw Sue Grafton over the weekend at Bouchercon in Albany and she was fabulous as ever and doesn't look or act a day over 60!

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