On December 29, 2017, I received an email from our blogging friend Lauren Raine, an artist in Tucson, Arizona.
“I read this story in Facebook today and thought it might be of interest to you.
“Sue Grafton was a facebook friend, I didn’t know her, but I enjoyed her posts. Apparently she was also a successful author….perhaps you know of her?
“On the 19th of December she posted about a trunk that someone in North Carolina had sent to her, a stranger who found her out because the truck had things from 100 years ago that apparently belonged to her grandmother, and grandfather. Sue took photos of all of it and describes the story in her post of the 19th.
“Then today I saw a post from her daughter that she had passed away yesterday suddenly. Reading the story of the trunk, I just couldn’t help but feel there was spirit contact there……just 10 days before her death she was gifted with beautiful art and handmade quilts that belonged to her grandparents! And so of course I thought of you folks!
“So here is the link to Sue’s post. If you can’t access it let me know and I”ll copy it for you.
“Wishing you and yours a wonderful New Year!”
The news about Grafton’s death was a surprise – and sad. Back in the mid to late 1980s, sometime after my first novel, In Shadow had been published by Ballantine, I received a letter from Sue. This was in the days before the Internet, so it was an actual letter. She told me how much she’d enjoyed the book, then said a rather odd thing about my use of the words “safety deposit box.” She thought the term should be “safe deposit box.”
I thought it was an odd observation and now, thanks to Google, I find that both usages are true. But back then, I figured my usage was probably true for Florida and not necessarily true for the rest of the world.
Several years later, I met Sue in person at a writers conference – maybe Bouchercon, I’m not sure – and she apologized for her criticism. Right there and then, I liked her, a Taurus who had conceived of a sassy, female private eye and made it work for her in a major way, as only a persevering Taurus can do.
She nearly made it to the end of the alphabet. As her daughter put it in a Facebook post:
Hello Dear Readers. This is Sue’s daughter, Jamie. I am sorry to tell you all that Sue passed away last night after a two year battle with cancer. She was surrounded by family, including her devoted and adoring husband Steve. Although we knew this was coming, it was unexpected and fast. She had been fine up until just a few days ago, and then things moved quickly. Sue always said that she would continue writing as long as she had the juice. Many of you also know that she was adamant that her books would never be turned into movies or TV shows, and in that same vein, she would never allow a ghost writer to write in her name. Because of all of those things, and out of the deep abiding love and respect for our dear sweet Sue, as far as we in the family are concerned, the alphabet now ends at Y.
I do think Lauren may be right about the spirit contact aspect here.
RIP, Sue. Now hurry up and get back here to stir up the status quo again! And thank you for the beautiful fan letter!