25 Sue Grafton Quotes That Celebrate Her Incredible Life

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Bestselling mystery novelist Sue Grafton has died at age 77, just a few months after publishing her final novel, Y is for Yesterday, the 25th installment in her "alphabet series" about Detective Kinsey Millhone. She began the series in 1982 with the publication of A is for Alibi and she intended to conclude the series with her "Z" book: Z is for Zero, which was due to be released in fall of 2019. Unfortunately, she passed away from cancer before she could finish it. These quotes by Sue Grafton from her beloved Kinsey Millhone exemplify what a talented, magnificent mystery writer she was in her lifetime.

In a devastating statement posted to Grafton's Facebook page, her daughter Jamie Clark revealed that the author had been battling cancer for two years and died in Santa Barbara, Calif. on Thursday.

Clark wrote in the statement that her mother 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.”

Though fans of Grafton will never get a "Z" novel, they can still appreciate the wonderful books she left behind. Here are 25 quotes from her alphabet series to remember her by:

"I don’t know what love is about and I’m not sure I believe in it anyway."

"Insecure people have a special sensitivity for anything that finally confirms their own low opinion of themselves."

"Everything happens for a reason, but that doesn't mean there's a point."

“There are days when none of us can bear it, but the good comes around again. Happiness is seasonal, like anything else. Wait it out. There are people who love you. People who can help."

"There's a certain class of people who will do you in and then remain completely mystified by the depth of your pain."

"Pretending to be 'normal' is a lot harder than you think."

"Maybe life is just a straight shot from the horrors of grade school to the horrors of the nursing home."

"The tricky part of any lie is trying to figure out how you'd behave if you were innocent."

"Thinking is hard work, which is why you don’t see a lot of people doing it."

“The hard thing about death is that nothing ever changes. The hard thing about life is that nothing stays the same."

"Some death is as silent as the flight of a bird, some prey as unprotesting as a knot of rags."

"This is the beauty of keeping up those skills. In a crisis situation, I had only to open my mouth and a fib flopped out. An unpracticed liar can’t always rise to the occasion like I can."

"“Ghosts don't haunt us. That's not how it works. They're present among us because we won't let go of them."

"If we understood the consequences of any given action, we could exercise discretion, thus restructuring our fate. Time, of course, only runs in one direction, and it seems to do so in an orderly progression. Here in the blank and stony present, we're shielded from the knowledge of the dangers that await us, protected from future horrors through blind innocence."

"So much of the past in encapsulated in the odds and ends. Most of us discard more information about ourselves than we ever care to preserve. Our recollection of the past is not simply distorted by our faulty perception of events remembered but skewed by those forgotten. The memory is like twin orbiting stars, one visible, one dark, the trajectory of what's evident forever affected by the gravity of what's concealed."

"Life was reduced to its four basic elements: air, food, drink, and a good friend."

"In my opinion, there's no condition in life that can't be ameliorated by a dose of junk food."

"The Universe keeps track of our sins and exacts devious and repugnant punishments, like dates with unknown men."

"He might be a man without character, but she was a woman without courage. Of the two, which was worse?"

"You can’t save others from themselves because those who make a perpetual muddle of their lives don’t appreciate your interfering with the drama they’ve created. They want your poor-sweet-baby sympathy, but they don’t want to change."

"If I'd been listening closely, I'd have caught the sound of the gods having a great big old tee-hee at my expense."

"Built into bad news is that sense of profound disbelief. The mind struggles to absorb the bare facts, defending itself against the larger implications."

"There's something inherent in human nature that has us constructing narratives to explain a world that is otherwise chaotic and opaque. Life is little more than a series of overlapping stories about who we are, where we came from, and how we struggle to survive. What we call news isn't news at all: wars, murders, famines, plagues—death in all its forms. It's folly to assign meaning to every chance event, yet we do it all the time."

"Memory is subject to a filtering process that we don’t always recognize and can’t always control. We remember what we can bear and we block what we cannot."


"That’s because good news is usually too boring to repeat. The cold hard truth will fall on stony ground, whereas your all-around trashy rumor will flourish like a weed."