Grafton was born on April 24, 1940, in Louisville, Kentucky, and graduated from the University of Louisville. She is also credited with the story upon which the screenplay for the 1983 TV movie Svengali was based.
"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". Her experience as a screenwriter and studio office worker gave her such a strong distaste for the ways of Hollywood that she refused to allow any of her Kinsey Millhone books to be made into films or television productions. A novel for every letter continued through August's publication of "Y is for Yesterday".
Fellow crime writer Sara Paretsky paid a personal tribute on Facebook, saying they had been part of each other's writing history for 35 years.
Lisa Scottoline, author of legal thrillers, tweeted that she was sad to hear of Grafton's passing. Memorials also will be held in Louisville and New York City.
Kinsey, like Grafton, was an introvert.
While Grafton aged, her heroine didn't quite as much.
"I'm an introvert, so doing half of what Kinsey is beyond my poor capabilities", Grafton said. I, for one, don't think so. "A is for Alibi" was the eighth novel she wrote, and the third she had published. For the first half of the alphabet, people bet I couldn't [get to the end].
Grafton's second marriage ended in protracted divorce and custody proceedings that, she later said, helped her devise methods of murder for her novels.
Survivors include her husband of more than 40 years, philosophy professor Steve Humphrey of Santa Barbara; two children from her first marriage; a daughter from her second marriage; a sister; four granddaughters; and a great-grandson.
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