Sometimes as readers, we think we can't begin a book series that's been around for awhile. But all it takes is one book to spark our interest and away we go. Sue Grafton started her alphabet mystery series in 1982 with A is for Alibi and went on to B is for Burglar, before writing titles for most of the letters. At the time few books had female detectives and Grafton’s Kinsey Millhone was a revelation—a private investigator who is both witty and wily.
Bestselling authors are frequently asked where they got their start. Ms. Grafton said she grew up an unhappy kid, reading mysteries to escape. As a young woman she worked in clerical jobs and wrote, but was unsuccessful getting her early novels published. Fifteen years as a television screenwriter taught her to compose compelling plots and she was finally able to attract a publisher. Set in the fictional town of Santa Teresa, modeled after Santa Barbara, Grafton’s books have crisp dialogue and are fast paced. She has sold millions of books, published in 28 languages.
Grafton has completed 23 letters of the alphabet and the Monrovia Library has the entire series, including the latest, W is for Wasted. Kinsey digs into two deaths—one of a colleague and the other of an unknown man whom the coroner cannot identify.
Any ideas for Grafton’s next title? X is for Xerox? X is for Xylophone? I'm sure it'll be worth the wait. In the meantime, you might try the author’s autobiography, Kinsey and Me, which mixes memoir with short fiction.