When Sue Grafton created Kinsey Millhone, a wisecracking, tough private investigator in 1982, she successfully recast the hard-boiled detective character type made famous by Raymond Chandler and Ross Macdonald as a woman. Kinsey’s self-reliance, humor, and dedication to her job make her admirable, and her weakness for fast food, difficulty maintaining a relationship with a man, and missteps as she investigates cases make her a sympathetic and believable character. Grafton’s success as a writer is due largely to the popularity of the Kinsey character, with whom women identify.
Grafton’s novels have been translated into twenty-six languages, and more than ten million copies of her books are in print. Her mystery and detective fiction has earned many awards, beginning with the Mysterious Stranger Award from the Cloak and Clue Society for “A” Is for Alibi (1982).“B” Is for Burglar (1985) received Shamus and Anthony awards; “C” Is for Corpse (1986) won an Anthony; “G” Is for Gumshoe (1990) earned Shamus and Anthony awards, and “K” Is for Killer (1994) won an Anthony. Grafton received the Maltese Falcon award for “F” Is for Fugitive (1989), the American Mystery Award for “H” Is for Homicide (1991) and “A Poem That Leaves No Time,” and the Ridley Award for “O” Is for Outlaw (2001). Six of her Kinsey Millhone series novels won Doubleday Mystery Guild Awards. Her short story “The Parker Shotgun” received the Macavity and Anthony awards. She has served as president of the Mystery Writers of America (1994-1995) and of the Private Eye Writers of America (1989-1990) and been a member of the Writers Guild of America, West, and the Crime Writers’ Association.