Grafton was the younger of two daughters born to a bond attorney—and sometime novelist—and his wife, a former chemistry teacher.
She was best known for her Alphabet series, which focuses on the adventures of private investigator Kinsey Millhone. Popular titles in the series include “A” is for Alibi, “K” is for Killer, and “V” is for Vengeance.
The alphabetically titled series began with A Is for Alibi (1982).
Y Is for Yesterday (2017), the 25th book in the series, was published just months before Grafton’s death.
After graduating from the University of Louisville, she worked as a cashier and a secretary.
She received the Grand Master Award from the Mystery Writers of America association.