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Sue Grafton

Someone once asked the award-winning mystery writer Sue Grafton (born 1940) what themes are in her books. Her answer was that she is interested in why people do what they do. "Why do we kill each other?" she said. "Why can't we be happy? I'm looking for answers, trying to figure it out."

Grafton's novels feature the California private investigator Kinsey Millhone, a tough, independent, sassy heroine. With the popular Millhone, Grafton has firmly established a female hero as a detective, a role that has traditionally been male. Grafton, who is the mother of three grown children, compared herself to Kinsey Millhone in an interview in Armchair Detective: "She's the person I would have been had I not married young and had children. She'll always be thinner and younger and braver, the lucky so-and-so. Her biography is different, but our sensibilities are identical. At the core, we're the same. . . . Because of Kinsey, I get to lead two lives--hers and mine. Sometimes I'm not sure which I prefer."

Besides mysteries, Grafton has written screenplays and television scripts, sometimes collaborating with her husband.