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Sue Grafton was an American Number One New York Times-bestselling author.

She has a loyal fan base of millions of readers from all over the globe; with her books having published in twenty-six languages across twenty-eight countries which include Estonian, Bulgarian, and Indonesian.

Her most celebrated work is without doubt The Kinsey Millhone Alphabet Series which debuted in 1982 with A is for Alibi.

Some of Grafton’s key awards and honors include: the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Private Eye Writers of America, the Ross Macdonald Literary Award, the Cartier Diamond Dagger Award from Britain’s Crime Writers’ Association, the Lifetime Achievement Award from Malice Domestic, the Anthony Award given by Bouchercon, and three Shamus Awards.

She died in December 28, 2017 at the age of 77.

More about Sue Grafton

Genres: Mystery, Non-fiction, Suspense, Thriller

Born: 1940

Died: 2017

United States

Website: http://www.suegrafton.com/

Non Series
  • Keziah Dane (1967)
  • Lolly-madonna War (1969)
  • A Poison That Leaves No Trace (1990)
  • Kinsey and Me: Stories (1991)
  • The Best American Mystery Stories 1998 (1998)
Non-fiction
  1. Writing Mysteries (1992)
The Kinsey Millhone Alphabet Series
  1. "A" is for Alibi (1982)
  2. "B" is for Burglar (1985)
  3. "C" is for Corpse (1986)
  4. "D" is for Deadbeat (1987)
  5. "E" is for Evidence (1988)
  6. "F" is for Fugitive (1989)
  7. "G" is for Gumshoe (1989)
  8. "H" is for Homicide (1991)
  9. "I" is for Innocent (1992)
  10. "J" is for Judgment (1993)
  11. "K" is for Killer (1994)
  12. "L" is for Lawless (1995)
  13. "M" is for Malice (1996)
  14. "N" is for Noose (1998)
  15. "O" is for Outlaw (1999)
  16. "P" is for Peril (2001)
  17. "Q" is for Quarry (2002)
  18. "R" is for Ricochet (2004)
  19. "S" is for Silence (2005)
  20. "T" is for Trespass (2007)
  21. "U" is for Undertow (2009)
  22. "V" is for Vengeance (2011)
  23. "W" is for Wasted (2013)
  24. "X" (2015)
  25. "Y" is for Yesterday (2017)

Detailed book overview

Non Series

Keziah Dane

Keziah Dane is a book by celebrated American writer Sue Grafton. Originally title The Seventh Day of Keziah Dane, the book was written by Grafton in 1967 when she was just 27-years old.

Keziah Dane lost her husband when the floods wreaked havoc on their small Kentucky town.

A widow, she barely manages to make ends meet for her children.

A drifter by the name Web wins over Keziah's trust, but then tries to rape her eldest daughter.

While repelling the attack, Keziah's daughter ends up killing Web in the process.

The body is dumped in the flooded town and unprecedented problems spring up for the Dane family.

Author: Sue Grafton
First Release: 1967
ISBN: 978-0722139844
Publisher: Sphere
Lolly-madonna War

This is a one of the few books written by Sue Grafton before she began The Kinsey Millhone Alphabet Series.

Lolly-madonna War is a story revolving around two feuding families, and how their drive for violence impacts the lives of their families, and those around them.

Lolly-Madonna XXX
Director: Richard C. Sarafian
Cast: Jeff Bridges, Rod Steiger, Robert Ryan
Author: Sue Grafton
First Release: 1969
ISBN: 978-0722139837
Publisher: Sphere Books Limited
A Poison That Leaves No Trace

This is based on originally written short stories by international renowned best-selling authors: Carol Higgins Clark, Nelson DeMille, Sue Grafton, and Julie Smith.

Your mission is to read the short story, assemble the 1,000-piece puzzle, and discover the hidden clues.

Once you’ve done that, solve the mystery by bringing together pieces in the story and in the puzzle.

Author: Sue Grafton
First Release: 1990
ISBN: 978-1575287522
Publisher: Univ Games
Kinsey and Me: Stories

This book is a gripping collection of stories that reveal Kinsey's origins—and Grafton's past.

Totaling to nine stories, the book tells of how fully formed Kinsey was from the beginning.

On the other hand, the thirteen stories in the second part—which were written in the decade after the death of her mother—feature Kit Blue; a younger version of Grafton herself.

It reflects on her problematic family life and how she remarkably journeyed from anger to understanding and forgiveness.

Author: Sue Grafton
First Release: 1991
ISBN: 978-0425267790
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons
The Best American Mystery Stories 1998

In The Best American Mystery Stories 1998, Sue Grafton has breathtakingly collected multiple stories that will not only amaze but also fulfill all emphatic lovers of the genre.

In this volume, best-selling writers as the likes of Mary Higgins Clark, Walter Mosley, Lawrence Block, Jay McInerney and Donald E. Westlake are at their very best, alongside an impressive group of fresh talent.

In Grafton’s own words, "Nowhere is iniquity, wrongdoing, and reparation more satisfying to behold than in the well-crafted yarns spun by the writers represented here."

Author: Sue Grafton
First Release: 1998
ISBN: 978-0395835852
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Non-fiction

Writing Mysteries

In this incredible, exclusive compilation, more than three dozen members of the Mystery Writers of America pen their insights and thoughts that will go a long way in translating your writing dreams into reality.

This book will teach you how to:

Develop original ideas

Construct an airtight plot packed with plenty of captivation and suspense

Create interesting characters and creative settings

Create your own writing style

Write convincing dialogue

Come up with the most appropriate point of view

Work with an agent

Conduct error-free research

and many more!

There are also special guidelines for creating clues, dropping red herrings, and writing medical, legal, historical, true crime, and young adult mysteries.

This book has everything you will ever need to solve the mystery-writing riddle!

Author: Sue Grafton
First Release: 1992
ISBN: 978-1582971025
Publisher: Writer's Digest Books

The Kinsey Millhone Alphabet Series

"A" is for Alibi

When Laurence Fife, a stony-hearted divorce attorney was found murdered, very few were moved by his death. Equally alleged to be a committed womanizer, a number of people in the beautiful Santa Teresa town in Southern California had every reason to want him dead—including his wife.

The police have Nikki, his young and stunning wife, as their prime suspect considering that she had all the motive, access and opportunity to kill Laurence. The jury is convinced she did it.

Released on parole eight years later, Nikki enlists Kinsey Millhone to help identify her late husband’s real killer who is still out there.

From a vulgar old woman to a young boy born deaf, from a lawyer supremely loyal to a dead partner to an ex-wife still bitter over her husband’s betrayal, the many unexpected twists will trail back to a killer devious enough to get away with murder.

Author: Sue Grafton
First Release: 1982
ISBN: 978-0312353810
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
"B" is for Burglar

Beverly Danziger’s obsessive chattering exposed the anxiety beneath her cool and assuring surface. Her nervousness emanated from the fact that she had an absent sister and a will that needed to be settled, which is why she hired private eye Kinsey Millhone.

A wealthy widow in her early forties, with condos in Boca Raton and Santa Teresa, it’s safe to say Elaine Boldt was flashier than her sister. According to the manager of the California building, she was last seen heading to her Boca Raton condo while adorning her $12,000 lynx coat, but the manager of the Florida building however claims she never got there.

More confusion emerges when Millhone is surprisingly ordered by Beverly Danziger to drop the case, and Aubrey Danziger comes out guns blazing with several accusations about his wife.

Murder upon murder drives Millhone into a desperate search for the truth; leading her to a place where danger is the only reality.

Author: Sue Grafton
First Release: 1985
ISBN: 978-1250020246
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
"C" is for Corpse

Kinsey could only imagine that the boy at the gym with a scared body and a half-collapsed face was once a handsome kid. For three weeks, she curiously observed as the twenty or so man put himself through a strenuous physical routine. Not a word was ever spoken by the boy during the time.

Yet when she was one deserted Monday morning told the story behind the scars by gym owner Bobby Callahan, Kinsey found it hard to believe what she so desperately wanted to know.

The scars were the outcome of a desperate effort by doctors to keep the boy alive following a devastating crash with his Porsche into a 400 feet canyon after a murderous assault; one that left his best friend dead, and much of his memory lost.

But Bobby Callahan dies just days after Kinsey takes on the case to help the brave boy.

Now, she really has to find the killer!

Author: Sue Grafton
First Release: 1986
ISBN: 978-1250020253
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
"D" is for Deadbeat

Kinsey’s job seemed simple enough. Hired by Alvin Limardo, she was to locate a kid and reward a $25,000 check for doing him a favor.

She however comes to learn that the man’s real name is John Daggett; a drunk, ex-con and perennial liar.

The man then dies in an alleged drowning incident, but Kinsey isn’t too sure of the unfolding of events.

Daggett had several enemies like his wife, daughter, the alleged Mrs. Daggett; not least of all the families of the five people he murdered.

As Kinsey takes on the case, she is reminded that "Some debts of the human soul are so enormous only life itself is sufficient forfeit"

Author: Sue Grafton
First Release: 1987
ISBN: 978-1250020260
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
"E" is for Evidence

Kinsey never believed in Santa Claus, which is why she wasn’t moved when $5,000 was mistakenly credited to her account. But it turns out that it wasn’t a mix-up but a calculated setup.

As she embarks to uncover the setup, Kinsey discovers the shocking truth of how her future is passionately entwined with one family's past—and to the terrible secret it has hidden for nearly two decades.

"E" is for evidence: evidence planted, evidence lost.

"E" is for ex-lovers, evasions, enemies and endings.

"E" is her license, her livelihood, and the name she has struggled to build. Basically everything she stands to lose if she can’t prove her innocence.

Author: Sue Grafton
First Release: 1988
ISBN: 978-1250020277
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
"F" is for Fugitive

Six streets long and three deep, Floral Beach’s only striking feature was a strip of sand overlooking the Pacific. It was there that the strangled body of Jean Timberlake was discovered seventeen years ago.

Residents of Floral Beach never paid much attention to the small town’s history, especially after self-confessed killer, Bailey Fowler, was successfully convicted. They weren’t even bothered when Fowler walked away from prison a year after the murder—never to be seen again.

After all, wasn’t Jean just as untamable as her mother Shana Timberlake?

But when the police meet Bailey Fowler by chance, the seventeen-year-old case is reopened.

Despite having slim chances of succeeding, Kinsey Millhone takes on the case. The revelations on family ties and old wounds will be shocking.

Author: Sue Grafton
First Release: 1989
ISBN: 978-1250025432
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
"G" is for Gumshoe

Kinsey, on her 33rd birthday, is warned by a fellow detective that she is on the hit list of one Tyrone Patty; a murderer she helped track down.

Stubbornly not heeding to the advice of hiring a personal bodyguard, Kinsey instead proceeds with her next case of a client's outlandish mother who has gone missing from her trailer home on the edge of the Mojave Desert.

Kinsey, in the midst of all this, however finds herself in the hospital after her '68 Volkswagen is veered off the road by a red pickup truck.

This installation sees the introduction of a burnt-out detective, Robert Dietz, in a tale of horrifying villains and intense sexual encounters.

Author: Sue Grafton
First Release: 1989
ISBN: 978-1250025463
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
"H" is for Homicide

Parnell Perkins, a claims adjustor for California Fidelity, was murdered having been shot right outside his place of work shortly after midnight.

Police claim it’s a robbery gone bad, but Kinsey Millhone is convinced that her colleague and occasional drinking partner had been killed in cold blood.

Bibianna Diaz moves all the way from L.A. to Santa Teresa, since no one that offended Raymond Maldonado ever lived to tell about it. In need of quick money, she joins California Fidelity where her name soon pops up in Parnell Perkins's open files.

A twist of fate will make Kinsey babysit Bibianna, Raymond and his crew of masculine brutes in what is perhaps her most dangerous and complicated case yet.

Author: Sue Grafton
First Release: 1991
ISBN: 978-1250029645
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
"I" is for Innocent

When David Barney was absolved from allegedly shooting his wife Isabelle to death, many people felt that justice had been denied, none more so Kenneth Voight; Isabelle's former husband.

Five years later, Voight is the plaintiff in a civil suit where David stands accused of Isabelle's murder. Plenty is at stakes given that Isabelle has left behind an estate worth millions, while Voight is on the verge of being cut off by the statute of limitations.

Kinsey Millhone, an ex-cop and private eye, is enlisted by Voight to assemble the evidence. The case is however turned on its head when the intuitive detective soon discovers that the number of people who hated Isabelle were more than those who loathed David.

You know "I" is for Innocent when a manhunt for the real murderer begins.

Author: Sue Grafton
First Release: 1992
ISBN: 978-1250029652
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
"J" is for Judgment

When Wendell Jaffe's 35-foot Fuji ketch was discovered drifting off the Baja coast five years ago, it seemed certain that he had gone overboard. The note left behind telling of how terribly broke he was.

When the authorities were on his case after his real estate machination turned to be nothing more than a Ponzi scheme, they found that Jaffe had stripped his banks and books of everything there was.

He however had a $500,000 life insurance policy underwritten by California Fidelity, but the insurance company was reluctant to pay the claim given no body was ever discovered.

His wife, Dana Jaffe, therefore had to wait for the statutory five years before her missing husband could be declared dead by law.

But when Jaffe is seen at a dusty resort bar two months after the claim is paid, California Fidelity brings in Kinsey Millhone to uncover the sudden “resurrection”.

Author: Sue Grafton
First Release: 1993
ISBN: 978-1250035820
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
"K" is for Killer

Lorna Kepler was beautiful and daring. Perhaps this is what got her killed.

The police suspected homicide, although they couldn’t quite find a motive or a suspect. Even worse was the fact that her body was discovered when it had already terribly decomposed, making it hard to tell whether she had died of natural causes. With time, it becomes yet another unsolved case; only kept alive by Lorna's mother who is bitter that her daughter’s killer still roams freely.

Ten months have now passed since the death of her daughter.

One evening, while leaving a support group session that clearly wasn’t helping, Janice Kepler is draw by a light in one of the offices of Millhone Investigations. She knocks at the door and is greeted by Kinsey Millhone.

Will Kinsey help Janice find the closure that she so desperately needs?

Author: Sue Grafton
First Release: 1994
ISBN: 978-1250035837
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
"L" is for Lawless

Kinsey Millhone is very dignified and astute at what she does, but "L" is for Lawless, and she is about to meet her match.

Hers skills will be tested to the very limit.

Whether you call it a mystery without a murder or a treasure quest without a map; Kinsey Millhone is in bad company, and she returns as a bad girl.

She will join forces with a modern-day Bonnie and Clyde in a comedy adventure that will not only take her halfway across the country, but also leave her with a headache and a depleted bank account.

Author: Sue Grafton
First Release: 1995
ISBN: 978-1250041883
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
"M" is for Malice

"M" is for money; a ludicrous amount of money.

"M" is for Malek Construction; a family-run company that grew from nothing to become one of the three biggest construction companies in California, valued at $40 million.

"M" is for the Malek family: four sons, approaching middle age, and on the verge of inheriting a fortune. Nearly two decades ago, one of them disappeared without a trace.

"M" is for Millhone; called upon to trace the missing black sheep brother.

"M" is for memories; bitter memories of a family ever at war. Even the prodigal son will have no place on his family's table.

"M" is for malice.

"M" is for murder; quite often the ultimate consequence of hatred in the family.

Author: Sue Grafton
First Release: 1996
ISBN: 978-1250041890
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
"N" is for Noose

Tom Newquist was a firm and honest cop adored by everyone. So when he died just sixty-five, the locals were saddened but not shocked. Serving as a detective at the sheriff's office in the Nota Lake, he worked too hard, exercised too little and smoked too much.

Although Selma Newquist, his widow, didn't doubt the coroner's report, she couldn’t understand why Tom was so bothered during his final weeks.

What could have made the tough cop prowl so restlessly at night? Selma is desperate for answers.

The case seemed like a wild goose chase, yet Kinsey never dropped it; choosing instead to set up camp in Nota Lake.

Much like in every goose chase, blood must be spilt; if not for the goose then for the hunter.

Author: Sue Grafton
First Release: 1998
ISBN: 978-1250050335
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
"O" is for Outlaw

A guy who rummages for defaulted storage units at auction calls one Monday morning. He bought a stack a week ago which has Kinsey’s belongings. He is willing to sell them to her for thirty bucks but stingy Kinsey gets them for a good twenty; not because she values personal possessions, but rather to feed her curiosity.

Along with the childhood memorabilia is one old undelivered letter; one which will make her to reassess her beliefs about the ending of her first marriage.

After fourteen installments, we’ve come to know of Kinsey Millhone's aunt who raised her, the second husband who left her and the long-lost family somewhere in the California coast. Very little is however told of the first husband.

"O" is for Outlaw: a shocking revelation into Kinsey's past.

Author: Sue Grafton
First Release: 1999
ISBN: 978-1447212362
Publisher: Pan Books
"P" is for Peril

Dr. Dowan Purcell was quite a distinguished member of the Santa Teresa medical community. He didn’t have any notable enemies and was quite contented with his life. He operated a nursing care facility, and dearly loved his wife Crystal, and their two-year-old son.

At the time when Kinsey received a call about his disappearance, Purcell had been missing for a staggering nine weeks. But it wasn’t Crystal who made the call, but rather Purcell's ex-wife, Fiona.

Although Kinsey knew Fiona's expectations were beyond realistic realms, she still ends up taking the job; a decision she will live to regret.

Author: Sue Grafton
First Release: 2001
ISBN: 978-0735218529
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons
"Q" is for Quarry

Eighteen years ago, the decomposed body of a young, unidentified woman was discovered near a quarry just off Highway 1 in California. She was a Jane Doe.

The woman had several stab wounds, her throat had been slit and had her hands bound with a length of wire.

Months of investigations by the Santa Teresa County Sheriff's Department bore no fruits, and the case eventually remained unsolved.

Eighteen years later, the two men who discovered the body need closure before ending their longstanding careers in law enforcement.

Old and poorly, they seek for the services of Kinsey Millhone. Even identifying the victim will be considered great success for the elderly officers.

Kinsey takes up the assignment; embarking on a high voltage mission of not just identifying Jane Doe's real identity, but also finding her killer.

Author: Sue Grafton
First Release: 2002
ISBN: 978-0399575181
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons
"R" is for Ricochet

Reba Lafferty, the only child of Nord Lafferty, was a girl born with a silver spoon. At the time of her birth, her father who was well in his fifties, gave her everything she ever wanted.

Through the years, her father was able to discreetly settle her numerous run-ins with the law, but he couldn’t stop her from being convicted of embezzlement.

Having successfully served her first twenty-two months of a four-year sentence, the now thirty-two year old Reba is released on parole.

Nord Lafferty promptly hires Kinsey to help keep his daughter from courting trouble.

Kinsey was never going to say no to the offer. For that kind of money, who wouldn’t babysit even an adult?

Life is however never that simple, and everything comes crumbling down in just under twenty-four hours.

Author: Sue Grafton
First Release: 2004
ISBN: 978-0399575198
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons
"S" is for Silence

One fine day, Violet Sullivan wore her Sunday best and left to enjoy the yearly Fourth of July fireworks display. She has yet to return thirty-four years later.

A lot was said in the small town Serena Station in California. Some suggested that she had taken off with a lover, while other hush whispers claimed that she had been murdered by her husband.

But to Daisy, the daughter she left behind, Violet's mysterious disappearance was neither explained nor forgotten.

Nearly three decades and a half later, the not-so-seven-year-old daughter desperately wants the peace that comes with closure.

Kinsey Millhone gets to work.

“S" is for Silence.

"S" is for surprises.

"S" is for superb.

Author: Sue Grafton
First Release: 2005
ISBN: 978-0399575204
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons
"T" is for Trespass

In this twentieth installation of The Kinsey Millhone Alphabet Series, Sue Grafton makes a bold, daring and direct confrontation with the forces of evil in what is quite arguably her most unnerving piece of writing.

The book, which typically starts slowly with the day-to-day life of an ex-cop turned private investigator, takes an abrupt shift from Kinsey Millhone to the voice of Solana Rojas; a horrifying sociopath.

Her name is not even Rojas to begin with. She stole the identity; one that gives her access to private jobs as a caregiver.

Set in the late eighties, dreadful things lie ahead.

Will Millhone notice it early enough to make a prompt intervention?

Identity theft, abuse of the elderly and outright betrayal, "T" is for Trespass.

Author: Sue Grafton
First Release: 2007
ISBN: 978-0399575211
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons
"U" is for Undertow

The year is 1988. The month is April. Kinsey Millhone, a month away from 38th birthday, is alone and burying herself in paperwork when a young man shows up unannounced at her office. Michael Sutton may look like he isn’t old enough to buy alcohol, but he is actually a 27-year old unemployed college drop-out.

A four-year old girl mysteriously disappeared twenty-one years earlier and a recent mention of her kidnapping has brought memories flooding back. Convinced that he may have come across the place where the girl was buried when he was six years old, Sutton requests Millhone to help locate the remains of the child, and possibly identify the men who committed the brutal crime.

Kinsey however unfolds a staggering truth while conducting her investigations.

Is Sutton telling the truth or is it just another one of his many fabrications?

Author: Sue Grafton
First Release: 2009
ISBN: 978-0399575228
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons
"V" is for Vengeance

A woman with a dark past kills herself—or did she?

A spoiled kid submersed in gambling debt thinks he is too good for the system.

The life of a charming woman is about to scatter into a thousand shards.

A professional ring of shoplifters works for the Mob. Goods stolen are by the millions.

A dirty cop feels immune.

A gangster seemingly has no remorse.

A widower grieves over the death of his lover.

A private investigator gets two black eyes and a busted nose on her thirty-eighth-birthday.

V is for victim; v is for violence; v is for vengeance.

Author: Sue Grafton
First Release: 2011
ISBN: 978-0399575235
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons
"W" is for Wasted

“The dead of two men changed the course of my life that fall. I knew one of them, while only saw the other for the first time in the morgue.”

Two deaths occur. The first was a local private eye who had been shot near the beach at Santa Teresa in what seemed like a robbery gone wrong. The second on the other hand was a body discovered on the beach six weeks later.

The man appeared homeless with no ID; the only clue being a piece of paper with Kinsey Millhone's name and number.

The deaths seemed utterly unrelated, as one was a blatant murder, and the other seemingly of natural causes.

As Millhone however studies the case more, mysterious linkages begin to crop up.

Beyond the surface are endless layers of deceit, misunderstandings, and murderous fraud.

Author: Sue Grafton
First Release: 2013
ISBN: 978-0399575242
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons
"X"

X: The number ten. An unknown quantity. A mistake. A cross. A kiss.

X: The shortest entry in Webster's Unabridged. Initially from Greek and Latin and commonly found in science, medicine, and religion. Quite rightly the most graphically dramatic letter. It’s very tricky to pronounce. Take xylophone for instance.

X: The twenty-fourth letter in the English alphabet.

This is the dark and spine tingling tale of a sociopath who murders and leaves no clues of his actions.

As ex-cop turned private investigator Kinsey Millhone tries to unravel the mystery, she must do so with caution and speed, before she becomes his next victim.

Author: Sue Grafton
First Release: 2015
ISBN: 978-0593085301
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons
"Y" is for Yesterday

The year is 1979.

Four teenage boys from a prestigious private school not only sexually abuse a fourteen-year-old classmate, but they also disturbing film the attack.

The tape goes missing soon afterwards; with the suspected thief, who so happens to be a fellow classmate, ends up murdered.

In the case that ensues, one boy turns state's evidence whereas two of his peers are convicted.

As for the mastermind, he escapes without a trace.

A decade later, Fritz McCabe—one of the perpetrators—is been released from prison.

When a copy of the missing tape id delivered, along with a demand for ransom, McCabe enlists for the help of private eye Kinsey Millhone.

It turns out that Fritz isn’t the only one haunted by the past, as a brutal sociopath has a score to settle with Millhone.

Author: Sue Grafton
First Release: 2017
ISBN: 978-0399185380
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons