The Abbreviated Alphabet.

There is no Z.  There SHOULD be a Z.  The alphabet is not meant to end on Y.  But it does now.  Or at least it does for me and all of the fans of Kinsey Millhone.

Author Sue Grafton died at the end of 2017.  Just another reason to add to the long list of things that were wrong with the year.  Shame on me for not even knowing that she was sick.

I first "discovered" Sue one summer.  Summer means the NJ shore to me.  And that also means that books must be on hand to read on the beach.  ("Back in the day" there was not that much to do other than read.  The house we rented didn't have cable tv.  I was happy to spend my days on the beach and my evenings on the deck with a good book...and a glass or two of wine!) I'm not sure of the year, but it was probably in the early 1990s when I picked up A is For Alibi, the first in the "alphabet" series.  I read it quickly.  I wasn't that impressed.  It was ok and that was that.

Fast forward several years, I'm thinking December of 2001.  (I'm not sure of the year, but I am sure of the month.)  I was alone in the house (hubby was at the movies with friends) and baking holiday cookies.  I pretty much had to stay in the kitchen as I swapped out baking sheets.  Someone had given me a used hardback copy of N is For Noose. I was hooked.  I didn't want to stop reading (and may have burned some cookies in the process.)  

When I finished, I knew it was time to go back to the beginning and make my way through.  I no longer had a copy of A is for Alibi.  It was off to the local library where I started from the scratch. Unfortunately, they didn't have all the books, and I wanted to go in order.  I ended up going to my local used book store and buying as many of Sue's books as I could find.  Sadly, this meant I had to skip over a few letters. I got all the way from A-J but L and M proved hard to find.  I know that I read O and P before I was able to go back to L and M.  (Have no idea why these two were so hard to find!)

Somewhere along the line, I wrote Ms. Grafton a fan letter and requested an autograph. (Again, this was "back in the day" before selfies, when collecting autographs what a pseudo-cool thing to do.)  She very graciously obliged me along with sending this lovely note:

I read Y is For Yesterday in the late fall of 2017.  It had been my plan to re-read the entire series once Z came out.  But now there is no Z.  There is no wrap up for Kinsey Millhone.  And perhaps that is the way it SHOULD be.

If you've read any of the alphabet books (and you SHOULD), you already know that there is nothing is neat and tidy (except for maybe Kinsey's apartment and office).  Her life is complicated. She is no superwoman.  She makes mistakes.  She is imperfect, just as we all are.

If there is one thing to be learned from Kinsey Millhone (other than the joy of peanut butter and pickle sandwiches) is that we need to be self-reliant.  That's not to say that we shouldn't have friends (and relatives) that we can count on, but we need to be able to take care of ourselves and look after ourselves.  We need to be able think for ourselves.  (Remember, Kinsey was created and lives in a world where they are no smart phones or computers.  She does her work the "old fashioned" way...she researches in libraries and uses public pay phones.)  In Kinsey Millhone, Sue Grafton did not create an ideal woman, but a REAL woman.  Someone we can learn from; not just in her successes, but in her mistakes too.

Thank you Sue Grafton for bringing Kinsey Millhone into my life.  I vow to take some time this year, slip on my all-purpose black dress, pour a glass of wine (sorry, not chardonnay) and curl up with the alphabet again:  from A to Y.


  1. You know, I've been looking for a new set of books to read, maybe they will be available cheaply from the library on my kindle?!


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