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Thoughts about Sue Grafton

January 5, 2018

(image via wikimedia)

Sue Grafton was an author I made fun of a little but respected a lot.  To be honest, I always thought her alphabet series was a bad idea, and that some of her books spent too much time on personal details of the protagonist’s daily routines.    Maybe I’m not a big fan of the alphabet mystery novels, but I respect what Sue Grafton did.

Sue Grafton wrote a mystery for almost every letter of the alphabet (A is for Alibi all the way to Y is for Yesterday), and every alphabet book was a best seller (I think).  She didn’t use co-authors.  She didn’t skip letters of the alphabet (unless you count “Z”) just because they were inconvenient.  She found a popular formula and stuck with it for 25 books.  She probably wasn’t feeling well when she wrote some of those books, and she finished them anyway.

That’s what a stud author does.   I’m in awe.  Even if I’ve read only a couple of her books, I’m in awe.  A lot of readers are going to miss her.

Having said that, I hope nobody else tries to write that final alphabet book.  I wouldn’t be surprised if the publishing company (whoever it is) tries to make some money off the author’s name and characters.  With one more letter left, I’m sure some aspiring author would want to finish off the series.  But doing that is an even worse idea than the alphabet series itself, and Grafton’s family seems to have no interest in that.

I rarely feel any emotional connection with celebrities, even celebrity authors. I’ve emotionally bonded with stuffed animals, sock puppets, and even members of my family.  But I’ve never felt connected with a celebrity, not so much that it affected me when that celebrity died.  When a celebrity dies, I say (or think) “That sucks.”  And then I go on with my day.  I’ve never felt like writing anything about a celebrity on my blog, tweeting about the celebrity, or going to that celebrity’s funeral.

I was in ninth grade when John Lennon got shot.  That was a big deal, and we talked about it at school, but I was too young to be passionate enough about John Lennon to cry.  The most common reaction was: “Now The Beatles will never reunite!”  Then we blamed Yoko Ono some more for breaking up The Beatles.  That seems kind of shallow, but what else would you expect from ninth-graders?  Besides, you’re never too young or too old to blame Yoko Ono.  That was as close as I’ve gotten to caring about a celebrity’s passing.

But I keep thinking about Sue Grafton.  Even though I don’t read Sue Grafton books on a regular basis, I like her.  I like the idea of her, taking a silly idea and making a ton of money off of it and building a loyal fan base.

I’ve met only two celebrities face-to-face.  One of them hit on my wife, and the other one yawned in my face.  I don’t think I’ll write anything else about them, unless I decide to provide more details about my wife getting hit on.  Neither of those celebrities accomplished what Sue Grafton has, 25 alphabet books and fans who will buy/read every single one of them.

I kind of wish that I’d met her.

  1. she will be missed by so many

  2. C’mon, man. The most interesting thing is who those two celebrities were. Well?

  3. I feel bad for how much I panned the last book of hers I read “X”, but it was seriously awful. Her earlier Millhone mysteries were quite good.

    • I think I know what you mean because I kind of did the same thing with Y Is for Yesterday.

      On the other hand, she was an extremely successful writer, and probably never read anything I wrote, and if she did, she probably didn’t care all that much what I thought.

  4. IIRC, “Z is for Zero” was supposed to be released this/next year.

  5. Anonymous permalink

    I hope to hell the Z book never happens. Like many, I respected her and what she did should stand as is.

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