Grafton, Sue

Born: April 24, 1940
Died: December 28, 2017

Ohio connection: Former Resident


Sue Taylor Grafton was born in Louisville, Kentucky April 24, 1940, to Author C. W. Grafton and Vivian Harnsberger (both of whom were raised in China as children of Presbyterian Missionaries).  Ms. Grafton graduated University of Louisville, BA 1961 with a major in English Literature, minors in Humanities and Fine Arts.   In 1967 Grafton published her first novel, Keziah Dane. Grafton also wrote movies for television including Walking Through the Fire, Sex and the Single Parent (broadcast in 1979), Mark, I Love You, and Nurse (broadcast in 1980). With her husband, Steven Humphrey, she adapted two Agatha Christie novels, Caribbean Mystery and Sparkling Cyanide (broadcast in 1983). The two also co-wrote Love on the Run (broadcast in 1985).

Grafton was a prolific author most noted for her detective novels that began in 1982 with “A Is for Alibi,”  She worked her way through the alphabet, all the way to Y is for Yesterday, which was published in August 2017.  According to Grafton’s husband, although she did not have a chance to work on it, the final book in the series was already known to her, and had been for some time. Humphrey stated, “She always said that last book would be ‘Z Is for Zero,’  She’d been saying that for 30 years.” Unfortunately for fans of the series, there will be no one to complete the series.  In announcing her mother’s passing on Grafton’s website, Jamie Clark stated, “. . . 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.”

Sue Grafton died of cancer on December 28, 2017 in Santa Barbara, California; she was 77.

Christopher award, 1979; Mysterious Stranger award, 1982/83; Private Eye Writers of America Shamus award, 1986, 1991, 1995; Mystery Readers of America Macarity award, for short story, 1986; Anthony award, for novel, 1986, 1987, 1991, and for short story, 1987; Doubleday Mystery Guild award, 1989-95; American Mystery award, 1990, 1992, 1993; Falcon award (Maltese Falcon Society of Japan), 1990; Shamus Award, 1994; 2000 YWCA of Lexington Smith-Breckinridge Distinguished Woman of Achievement Award;2004 Ross Macdonald Literary Award; 2008 Cartier Dagger by the British Crime Writers’ Association (honoring a lifetime’s achievement in the field); 2009 Grand Master Award from the Mystery Writers of America; 2013 Bouchercon’s Lifetime Achievement Award; 2014 Shamus Award nominee.