Grafton belonged to a cluster of female authors who viewed the private detective subgenre, previously dominated by Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler and Grafton's own hero Ross Macdonald, in desperate need of subverting.
Clark said that Grafton had battled cancer for the past two years.
"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". Her last book in the series, " 'Y' is for Yesterday", arrived in August, and according to her daughter Jamie Clark, there will be no more Millhone books.
The books, published in dozens of languages, earned Grafton a large and devoted readership, particularly among women.
While Grafton aged, her heroine didn't quite as much. She was twice divorced, baffled by public displays of emotion and quick to subsume herself in work.
Mystery author Sue Grafton died Thursday in Santa Barbara, California. But Y also straddles the border between the contemporary and the historical, depicting 1979-era teens being cruel and violent towards each other in a way that was of its time, but is also timeless. At the beginning of many of the books, Kinsey provides a revealing self-assessment that, over the course of 25 novels, adds up to one of the most endearing, flawed and memorable characters in modern crime fiction.
"I read newspapers, textbooks on crime".
"I'm an introvert, so doing half of what Kinsey is beyond my poor capabilities", Grafton said. "I want to be the king".
On her blog, she said her ideas come from everywhere. "A is for Alibi" was the eighth novel she wrote, and the third she had published. Her husband Steve Humphrey and daughter Jamie confirmed her death, as did a family friend, Steve Bass.