Sue Grafton is gone. I was surprised. I had not heard she was suffering from cancer for the past 2 years. I was expecting to hear later this year that "Z" for Zero would be published. Her fame is illustrated by the host of stories about her in the past 24 hours in every form of media.
I never met Sue nor did I ever correspond with her. As with many authors I was not aware of the particulars of her personal life.
I am familiar with her sleuth, Kinsey Milhone.
I was introduced to the series in the early 1980's when I heard a radio interview on the CBC morning radio show, Morningside. The host, Peter Gzowski, spoke with Sue about her series. It was clear that Peter, a devoted reader and skilled writer, was taken with the series.
I went out and found "A" is for Alibi and was hooked on the series. I read my way through the series from "A" is for Alibi to "V" is for Vengeance.
I have not read W or X or Y. I was finding the reading of the later books in the series slower going. Compared to the early books they were far longer and I was not enjoying them as much as the earlier books.
I continued to enjoy Kinsey's interactions with her landlord, the ever young octogenarian Henry, and her outspoken local restaurantuer, Rosie.
Unfortunately I was not finding the plots as compelling and said in my review of "U" is for Undertow that I was reading the books to continue my reading of the series.
I did find "V" is for Vengeance a better book. I intend to find a copy of "W" is for Wasted.
No matter that a fraction of the books in a series over 20 books were not the best Sue provided me with a lot of reading enjoyment over three decades. Few writers are able to match her sustained excellence.
I admired Sue's decision not to have any of the books made into a T.V. series or movies. Having worked in the industry she was scornful of their ability to do justice to her characters. That decision left it possible for me to maintain an image of Kinsey that is that of the younger Sue shown in the photo above. I know they were not identical but I firmly see the essence of Kinsey in Sue.
I am grateful her family has decided not to have another author write "Z" is for Zero. It is fitting to me that Sue's alphabet will end with 25 letters.
All the best to her family.
- Bill Selnes
- Melfort, Saskatchewan, Canada
- I am a lawyer in Melfort, Saskatchewan, Canada who enjoys reading, especially mysteries. Since 2000 I have been writing personal book reviews. This blog includes my reviews, information on and interviews with authors and descriptions of mystery bookstores I have visited. I strive to review all Saskatchewan mysteries. Other Canadian mysteries are listed under the Rest of Canada. As a lawyer I am always interested in legal mysteries. I have a separate page for legal mysteries. Occasionally my reviews of legal mysteries comment on the legal reality of the mystery. You can follow the progression of my favourite authors with up to 15 reviews. Each year I select my favourites in "Bill's Best of ----". As well as current reviews I am posting reviews from 2000 to 2011. Below my most recent couple of posts are the posts of Saskatchewan mysteries I have reviewed alphabetically by author. If you only want a sentence or two description of the book and my recommendation when deciding whether to read the book look at the bold portion of the review. If you would like to email me the link to my email is on the profile page.