Y is for Yesterday and no more: Farewell, Sue Grafton

I spent most of this morning and early afternoon devouring Y is for Yesterday, which is how I typically approach a Sue Grafton novel.

Blinded by a blazing personal drama, I completely missed the August 2017 release of Kinsey Milhone’s 25th adventure. I spotted the title online a few days ago and reserved a copy from my local library. The moment felt bittersweet; Grafton titled her books based on the 26-letter alphabet, which meant Kinsey’s story would draw to a close with the as-yet-unnamed “Z” installment.

Just hours after picking up the book, I had plowed through nine chapters, and these days, that is saying something. Dulled by smartphones and social media, my attention span creaks under the weight of most long-form writing. But Kinsey is more an old friend than a character in a well-crafted novel.

I discovered A is for Alibi in the early 1990s, which means I have been with Kinsey longer than I have known most of my close friends.

After reading X – that was the title, just X – I worried a little about what Grafton had in store for the end of our heroine’s epic journey. The plot wandered, dark and disjointed, as though the evil in the villain had somehow invaded the entire tome.

In Y is for Yesterday, I caught glimpses of what first drew me to Grafton’s amazing novels. And so I hung on every word, following Kinsey’s fascinating investigation into blackmail, sexual assault, and murder.

Around chapter 21, I took a break to use the restroom, refill my cup of tea and check Facebook. There, I discovered that Sue Grafton made her transition last night:

It seems almost cruel that she didn’t get to finish the series, although someone on Facebook commented that her death leaves us all with a mystery – as it should. Grafton’s daughter called her death from cancer expected but unexpected, which I suppose death always is.

I will pick up Y is for Yesterday in a bit. First, I’m going to order a small, inexpensive space heater for my home office.

Because I was reminded today that life is too short to let the cold stop me from writing.



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