M is for mourning in the book world: Sue Grafton, author of the acclaimed alphabet mystery novels, died on December 28 at age 77. Grafton began her bestselling series in 1982 with A Is for Alibi, which introduced the world to police officer-turned-private investigator Kinsey Millhone and the fictional Southern California town of Santa Teresa. The release of Y Is for Yesterday last August brought her one title away from finishing the series. Grafton's husband, Steven F. Humphrey, said "that last book would be Z Is for Zero. She'd been saying that for 30 years."
According to Jamie Clark, Grafton's daughter, "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."
In addition to regularly hitting bestseller lists, Grafton's 25 alphabet novels have garnered individual literary awards, several lifetime achievement awards and been translated into 26 languages. A Is for Alibi was last published in 2008 by St. Martin's Griffin ($15.99, 9780312353810). --Tobias Mutter