Sue Grafton Biography, Life, Interesting Facts


Sue Grafton

Birthday :

April 24, 1940

Died On :

December 28, 2017

Also Known For :


Birth Place :

Louisville, Kentucky, United States of America

Zodiac Sign :


Chinese Zodiac :


Birth Element :


Early Years And Education

Sue Grafton was born 24th April 1940, to C.W. and Vivian Grafton. She was born in Louisville, Kentucky, in the United States, and had an older sister. Sue Grafton's father was a lawyer, but he was also a writer. His genre was mystery novels. Her mother was a chemistry teacher at high school level.

Her father served in the army for two years during World War II, but after he came back, both her parents became alcoholics. Sue Grafton was only five years old when her father returned from active duty, and due to her parents drinking, she had to grow up very quickly and looked after herself a lot of the time.

Sue Grafton studied at Atherton High School in Louisville, and she then went to the University of Louisville. After her first year, she transferred to Western Kentucky State Teachers’ College, where she completed her sophomore and junior years. She then returned to the University of Louisville and graduated in 1961. Sue Grafton had a degree in English Literature with a minor in Humanities and Fine Arts.



Sue Grafton's early work included being an admissions clerk at a hospital, and a medical secretary. She had learnt about the writing industry from her father at an early age. He taught her about writing and editing, and Sue Grafton set to work with her writing when she turned 18. Only two of her first seven novels were published. These were called Keziah Dane and The Lolly-Madonna War. Having no success with her novels,Sue Grafton started writing for television. She spent the next 15 years writing movies for television. She then decided to try her hand again at fiction.

Sue Grafton had noticed other mystery writers that had written series based on things like having a color in every title or having a day of the week in every title. Acting on this, Sue Grafton decided she would do an “alphabet” series, that is, having a different letter from the alphabet in each title, from A to Z. As crime was her genre of interest, Sue Grafton came up with an alphabetical list of words related to crime. She then invented a private investigator character named Kinsey Millhone and set to work.

With the success of the novels, Sue Grafton quite her screenwriting to concentrate on the novels. She published a new one approximately every 12 months. Although she had the title Z is for Zero, she never got the final novel written due to her death. Her novels have now been published in 26 different languages, and many of her titles made The New York Times Best Seller list.


Awards And Honors

Three of Sue Grafton's novels won an Anthony Award for Best Novel. These were “B” is for Burglar (1986), “C” is for Corpse (1987) 

There were many other awards, including the Cartier Dagger in 2008 awarded by the British Crime Writers’ Association.



Sue Grafton married James L. Flood in 1959. The couple had two children, a son, and a daughter. Sue Grafton was only 18 when she married, and it ended in divorce in 1961. In 1962, Sue Grafton married Al Schmidt. The marriage ended badly and included a custody battle for their daughter.

In 1978, she married Steven F. Humphrey. Humphrey was a university teacher. The couple lived between Santa Barbara in California, and Louisville, Kentucky, with Humphrey teaching in both places.

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