L is for Listed: Mystery writer selling home

Sue Grafton has listed her oceanfront California estate for $10 million. The 1937 house is on two acres, with both mountain and ocean views.

By Teresa at MSN Real Estate Aug 29, 2013 12:20PM

(Courtesy of Realtor.com)Mystery writer Sue Grafton has put her Montecito, Calif., estate up for sale, with an asking price of $10 million.


The 7,318-square-foot home is on two acres overlooking the Pacific Ocean, with the mountains as a backdrop behind the home. The property has a pool house with a gym and a one-bedroom guest house, as well as a pool, putting green and croquet lawn.


Grafton is best known for her series of "alphabet" mystery novels featuring Kinsey Millhone, an irascible private detective who has been known to break a few rules. The novels are set in the fictional town of Santa Teresa, which is modeled on Santa Barbara, three miles west of Montecito – which is called Montebello in the books.


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The two-story Mediterranean home was built in 1937 and designed by Chester Carjola, a leading architect of the time. Grafton and her husband, Steve Humphrey, remodeled in the late 1990s, according to an article in Architectural Digest. The home has six bedrooms, nine baths and one half-bath. Listing photos show expansive spaces and lots of windows.

According to the AD article, the couple bought the home around 1995, seeking more privacy. The grounds include fruit trees, roses and extensive landscaping. The listing says:

Wandering the grounds beneath towering oaks, redwoods and palms, the estate’s elegance and enchantment come to life. Sun filled terraces lined by beds of hydrangea, wildflowers and succulents overlook ocean and island views. Bougainvillea climb the home’s romantic façade while stone walls line secret paths leading to flat lawns ideal for summer lawn games. Grapevines, avocado and citrus trees yield ripe, delicious fruit, and fragrant rose gardens permeate a sweet aroma across the delightful landscape. 

Back in 2000, Grafton told AD: “With other houses we’ve lived in, we were always looking at our watches. But this property suits us so beautifully, I suspect we’re here for life.”

It is not known why the couple is selling. The magic of fiction has slowed the aging process for Kinsey Millhone, who has not yet hit 40, but Grafton is 73, which makes downsizing a possibility. However, the author has not retired. The latest book in the series, “W is for Wasted,” will be published next month. The author has pledged to write through to “Z is for Zero.”

Grafton and Humphrey also have a home in Louisville, Ky., her hometown.


Kinsey, by the way, favors small spaces and lives in a 15-by-15-foot converted garage, which was remodeled for her by her landlord after she was the target of a bombing.


Aug 29, 2013 5:54PM
I enjoy her books....easy reads, and entertaining.
Aug 29, 2013 5:16PM
Have n ot read any of her book but must have been interesting considering the success of it. More power to her.
Aug 29, 2013 4:58PM
really enjoy her novels,wish i was kinsey...
Aug 29, 2013 4:22PM
Great books...  Wish we had the bank account to afford that house!
Aug 29, 2013 3:55PM
I think I may give one of her books a try this winter. 
Aug 29, 2013 3:52PM
love her books...have already ordered "W is for Wasted" from Amazon to download to my Kindle on publication date...looking forward to it! I love it that stories take place in the 80's... the best time of my lfe...life was so simple....can't imagine it  without all the tech we have now but then it didn't exist...have to admit I often long for those days, the 80's will always rock as far as I'm concerned!
Aug 29, 2013 3:09PM
Wow, I thought Sue Grafton was a hip forty-something herself. Goes to show age is a number.
Aug 29, 2013 2:41PM
The Kinsey Milhone books are wonderful as are the audio books and the narrator, Judy Kaye.  I only wish there would be more of them than the 4 more that are enthusiastically awaited! 
Aug 29, 2013 2:30PM

Love Sue Grafton's books...had no idea of her age. Hope she finishes the alphabet books...looking forward to them.  Also, hope she can turn out a few more after the series is complete. Thanks, Ms. Grafton.

 Wish I could afford your house...it would be difficult to leave that property.

Aug 29, 2013 2:15PM
ill give you a buck three eighty cash
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