2007 Library News

Bestselling Mystery Writer Sue Grafton To Speak at Annual Literary Voices Event

Since her breakout novel, “A is For Alibi” in 1982, Sue Grafton has joined the ranks of crime novelists who have gained bestseller status. Her books appeal not only to confirmed mystery fans, but to readers of serious mainstream fiction as well.

Sue Grafton will be Guest of Honor and speaker at the fifth annual Library Endowment
Trust Literary Voices Author Dinner to be held April 17, 2007 , at the Oklahoma City Golf and Country Club.

Grafton comes by her mystery-writing talent honestly. Her father, C.W. Grafton, an attorney practicing in Louisville , Kentucky , was the author of four mystery novels, two of which featured a lawyer/detective named Gilmore Henry.

“A is For Alibi” was Sue Grafton's eighth book, but so successful was it, it helped land Grafton a contract to co-write adaptations of two Agatha Christie mysteries for presentation on television. Both “A Caribbean Mystery” and “Sparkling Cyanide” premiered in 1983.

“A is For Alibi” broke away from the senior Grafton's more classical style of mystery story and followed the pattern of the tough private eye novel as perfected by Dashiell Hammett,  Raymond Chandler and Ross Macdonald. In fact, Grafton is so much a fan of Ross Macdonald's bestselling Lew Archer novels, she has her own female P.I., the tough but sensitive Kinsey Millhone, working the same mean streets Archer worked in the fictional city of Santa Teresa, California, a stand-in for Grafton's current California hometown, Montecito.

Kinsey is patterned after Grafton—“Unless you hate her, of course,” Grafton said, “and then I disavow any connection.” Grafton admits that Kinsey is very much like her, “only younger, smarter, and thinner.”

But too much emphasis can be placed on any similarities shared by Grafton and Kinsey. The fictional character has been twice divorced and her creator has been married to Steve Humphrey for more than 20 years. They have three children and two grandchildren. Grafton loves cats, gardens, and good cuisine—not quite the nature-hating, fast-food loving Millhone, who's idea of eating out is a Quarter Pounder, order of fries, and a Coke.

Discussing the perennial appeal of the crime novel, Grafton has said that “The mystery novel offers a world in which justice is served. Maybe not in a court of law, but people do get their just desserts.”

Since 2003, the Library Endowment Trust has been sponsoring Literary Voices, bringing writers who are internationally recognized as being the best in their fields to meet their fans in central Oklahoma . Past speakers have included humorist and novelist Dave Barry, Dr. Beck Weathers, political commentator Juan Williams, and actress and children's author Jane Seymour.

The Library Endowment Trust is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization which provides the general public with a tax-deductible vehicle whereby contributions will be invested on a permanent basis. The Trust is focused on library service and support for Metropolitan Library System. It was created in 1986 by Friends of the Library.

For more information on the fifth annual Library Endowment Trust Literary Voices Author Dinner, to be held April 17, 2007 , contact the Metropolitan Library System's Development Office at 405-606-3761, or via email at development@metrolibrary.org . You can also visit the library's website at www.metrolibrary.org.

The Metropolitan Library System of Oklahoma County includes 12 libraries and five extension libraries. Libraries include Belle Isle, Capitol Hill, Ralph Ellison, Ronald J. Norick Downtown Library and Southern Oaks in Oklahoma City, as well as Bethany, Choctaw, Del City, Edmond, Midwest City, Village and Warr Acres. Extensions are located in the communities of Harrah, Jones, Luther and Nicoma Park and include Wright Library in Oklahoma City . You can also reach us at www.metrolibrary.org