Saturday, December 30, 2017

Sue Grafton, R.I.P.



I had intended to post my Favorites of 2017 piece today, but it will wait until tomorrow. Instead, let's take a minute to remember Sue Grafton. She died Thursday night of cancer, at the age of 77. Her family's tribute came in the form of the statement that "The alphabet now ends in Y." Here's the obituary from the New York Times.  https://nyti.ms/2pUlXXF

I met Sue Grafton four times. The first was in Naples, Florida when she was in a group of mystery authors who appeared to a small appreciative audience. I only remember Sue Grafton and Lawrence Block. It must have been 1986. The Lee County Library System hosted her for our annual luncheon the second time. She showed slides of Santa Barbara, and talked about the similarities with her Santa Teresa. And, she showed us Kinsey's car.

When I was Chair of the Authors' Programming for the Lee County Reading Festival, I tracked her down, and called, after learning her husband's name. She told me I had good detecting skills. When I asked her to appear at the reading festival for 2002, she said yes. She didn't even ask for airfare from California. We picked her up at the airport, and my college roommate came in on the same plane. We took her to her hotel, and she hugged me and gave me a kiss on the cheek. Her graciousness with her fans was unequaled. She even signed a tee shirt as she came out of the restroom.



The last time I saw Sue Grafton was in Scottsdale, Arizona when U is for Undertow came out in 2009. I did a lengthy recap of the program when she appeared for the Poisoned Pen. You can read it here, if you'd like. http://bit.ly/2CnMcKQ



Kind. Gracious. And, she signed my book with, "Hello, Everyone...Read Lesa's Blog! Sue Grafton"

RIP, Sue Grafton. And, thanks for the memories.

15 comments:

Jeffrey Meyerson said...

Nice story. I was impressed by her flying across country at her own expense. I don't think most of us even knew that she was sick.

RIP

Cynthia said...

Thank you Lesa for your lovely tribute. I have a friend who met her once and said she was the nicest person, so lovely to all the fans there to see her.

Linda C said...

Columbus Dispatch had a lengthy article on her and noted that she was living in German Village when she wrote her A is for Alibi; also said that she modeled Rosie's on a German Village restaurant.

Lesa said...

Jeff, She didn't ask for anything, and signed books until all the books were gone.

Lesa said...

Cynthia, She was kind to her friends, and kind to event organizers. So easy to work with. It was a pleasure.

Lesa said...

Linda, Someplace, I have a signed copy of A lis for Alibi. It's a book club edition, but, even so, it's signed.

Charlotte said...

There is no answer to this question that I think so often. Why do super special people leave so early in life?
She will be truly missed.
Everything thing I have read about her since yesterday afternoon has been what a wonderful and gracious lady she was. I am sure that bring
comfort to her family. They need 🙏🏻 to help them during this time of lost.

Jeff, I didn't know she had been sick for two years either. She probably didn't share it with many.

Lesa said...

Charlotte, She didn't share it with many. Barbara Peters from the Poisoned Pen knew, but couldn't share it with people when Sue was forced to cancel her book tour for "Y".

You're right. Everything I've read is about how gracious she was as well, and, in my experience, she was one of the kind ones. There are some authors who have never forgotten that they were readers and fans, too.

Margie Bunting said...

Thank you for reminiscing about Sue, Lesa. I am so disappointed she won't get to finish out her 26-part series, all of which (so far) I have read and enjoyed. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think you saw Sue after 2009. She was a guest of honor at the 2014 Left Coast Crime event in Monterey. I remember her saying in an interview there that she loves to use her Fitbit to make sure she gets enough steps in a day. I immediately called my son, who works at Fitbit, and told him to let the PR manager know s/he should contact Sue for an endorsement! (I don't know if that ever happened, by the way.) She will be sorely missed.

Lesa said...

You are right, Margie. I had forgotten about LCC. I remember you mentioning that your son works for Fitbit. You're right. She's going to be missed.

Kathy Reel said...

Lovely words about a lovely person, Lesa. A real reader's writer.

Lesa said...

Thank you, Kathy. Yes, she was.

Bonnie K. said...

Awesome, that you had the chance to meet her several times.

Edith Maxwell said...

A beautiful tribute to an amazing woman. I saw her at Left Coast in Monterey, and she was also our guest of honor at Crime Bake several years earlier. We've lost a treasure.

nininshimonoko said...

Sue Taylor Grafton was an American author of detective novels. She is best known as the author of the "alphabet series" featuring private investigator Kinsey Millhone in the fictional city of Santa Teresa, California.
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