Mystery Writer Sue Grafton Dies at Age 77

Best-selling mystery author Sue Grafton has died. She was 77.

Grafton had been battling cancer and died around 11:30 p.m. Thursday in Santa Barbara, California, said her husband, Steve Humphrey.

Grafton was a contemporary American author well known for her alphabet mystery series featuring investigator Kinsey Millhone.

The series began with A is for Alibi in 1982 and continued through Y is for Yesterday, released in August 2017.

The novels have since been published in 28 countries and in 26 languages. In 2013, Grafton marked the 30th anniversary of the series by releasing Kinsey & Me, a set of stories that revealed the investigator's origins and gave insight into the author's past.

Grafton, born in April 1940, graduated from the University of Louisville with a B.A. in English in 1961, according to a U of L profile of her. Over the years, she's received more than 30 prestigious awards and honors.

"She was marvelous and fabulous and adored by everyone who knew her," said Humphrey, her husband of more than 40 years. "She was very successful as a writer; very dedicated and very talented."

Novels in Grafton's alphabet series were generally released two years apart, and Humphrey said his late wife had not yet started writing her last book in the series.

"She was trying to come up with an idea, but she never got one she liked," he said. "With chemo, she didn't have much energy or interest in that anyway. There will just be a 25-letter alphabet, I'm sorry to say."

Humphrey said Grafton's family and friends plan to hold a memorial service for her in California, on Sunday.

"There is talk about doing a larger memorial service in New York in April," Humphrey added. "Her literary agent is thinking of doing that before the Edgar Awards Ceremony," which honors American mystery writers.

Grafton was honored as a Grand Master by the Edgar Awards in 2009.

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