Award-winning novelist Sue Grafton passed away today at the age of 77. Grafton is most-famous for her mystery-detective books known as “the alphabet novels.” She died in Santa Barbara, California, on Thursday, December 28, 2017, after a two-year battle with cancer. Her death was announced the following day by her daughter Jamie on Facebook.
“I am sorry to tell you all that Sue passed away last night after a two year battle with cancer,” wrote her daughter on Facebook. “She was surrounded by family, including her devoted and adoring husband Steve.”
Following the announcement of Grafton’s death, author Christopher Rice sent out a tweet that said that he is, “Shocked and saddened to hear of #SueGrafton ‘s passing. She was a titan in the mystery genre. I never got the chance to meet her, but by all accounts she was a class act who was consistently generous to new and aspiring writers.”
Sue Grafton has been releasing her “alphabet mystery novels” since “A” Is for Alibi first hit bookshelves on April 15, 1982. Her final novel Y is for Yesterday was released on August 24, 2017. Her daughter said that there won’t be a novel for the letter “Z” as a result of her mother’s death. Jamie wrote on Facebook that “as far as we in the family are concerned, the alphabet now ends at Y.”
Grafton has spent a long life spent writing novels, screenplays, and short stories. She published her first novel way back in 1967 and remained a relative author well into the twenty-first century. Let’s see how much money this highly-successful writer has in the bank….
Sue Grafton Net Worth as of 2018: $50 Million
Sue Grafton’s net worth is estimated at a cool $50 million. She’s most famous for her “alphabet novels” which has earned this author many awards, including the first two Anthony Awards for Best Novel (1986 & 1987). She’s also the recipient of the 2000 YWCA of Lexington Smith-Breckinridge Distinguished Woman of Achievement Award. Four years later, she won the Ross Macdonald Literary Award for “a California writer whose work raises the standard of literary excellence.”
Let’s take a look at this legendary writer’s road to excellence…
Sue Grafton’s Early Years
Sue Taylor Grafton was born on April 24, 1940, in Louisville, Kentucky. Her father was C. W. Grafton, a detective novelist who would pass down this talent to his daughter later in life. Grafton’s mother’s name is Vivian Harnsberger.
In 1961, Grafton graduated from the University of Louisville with a bachelor’s degree in English and a minor in humanities and fine arts. At 18-years-old, she took up writing and completed her first novel four years later. She was able to publish another novel, but both books weren’t paying the bills. She looked to writing screenplays for television movies as a better means of income. In 1979, she screenplay Walking Through the Fire earned her a Christopher Award. She also wrote screenplays for TV movies such as Sex and the Single Parent, Mark, I Love You, and Nurse.
The Alphabet Novels
Grafton was inspired to write “the alphabet novel” after reading through The Gashlycrumb Tinies, a dark tale of ways children can die based on the letters of the alphabet. She later adapted this concept for her series of mystery-detective novels. The series stars a female private investigator named Kinsey Millhone, who lives in 1980’s Santa Teresa, a fictional town based on the real-life city of Santa Barba, California. Every book in the series is seen from Millhone’s perspective. This character has also appeared in a range of short stories written by Grafton.
She has written 27 books in her alphabet mystery series. She passed away before being able to write the 28th book in the series, which would predictable involve the letter “Z.”
Over the years, Grafton has taken home many awards, including the 2009 Grand Master Award from the Mystery Writers of America. She’s a 3-time Shamus Award-winner for Best Hardcover Novel.
The 77-year-old author was very adamant about not selling her books for TV or film adaptations. She even threatened to haunt her own children if they decided to sell the film rights to her books after she died.
Rest in peace, Sue Grafton.