S is for Sale: Sue Grafton Lists Her Montecito Estate

The popular mystery writer hopes to sell her elegant, Santa Barbara-close mansion for $9.6 million.

Photo courtesy of Zillow The circular patio is lined by two vine-covered pergolas, drawing the eye toward a commanding center fountain, and bringing to mind the grace and elegance of the 1930s, when the home was built.

Crime does pay, especially if you have a stellar career as a mystery writer. It’s allowed Sue Grafton, famous for her alphabet novels, to live in the same lush community as super stars like Oprah, Ellen and Drew (Barrymore), in a luxurious two-acre, ocean view estate … and then build a new, equally elegant house on the lot next door. You could actually be her neighbor if you decide to buy her former residence, which she originally put on the market at $10 million, then quickly reduced to $9.6 million.

Land is at a premium in Montecito, a naturally gorgeous and well-established community on the outskirts of Santa Barbara, or “Santa Teresa,” as Grafton calls it in her novels. The property is full of the features the area is noted for, like citrus, avocado and olive trees as well as oaks, redwoods and palms. Hydrangeas, bougainvillea, roses, succulents and wild flowers bloom everywhere, and there are sweeping ocean vistas almost everywhere. Stone walls surround large, grassy lawns and gardens, fountains burble, and vine-entwined pergolas offer shade.

The 7,300-square-foot Mediterranean main house was built around 1937 by Chester Carjola, a luxury home architect who was all the rage at the time. It has four bedrooms, each with an ocean-view terrace and an elegant private bath. A huge great room combines a state-of-the-art kitchen with a family room and office-project area, all with fireplaces and French doors leading to the great outdoors.

Photo courtesy of Zillow A giant playroom, with a full kitchen, bar, and plank wood floors, can be found on the home's lower level.

In addition, there’s a building which Grafton used as an office and wrote many of her novels, but it could also be used as a separate guesthouse. There’s also an expansive pool house that’s currently used as a gym, with a bed, bath and laundry facilities, and an adjacent pool pavilion and outdoor kitchen. Grafton acknowledges that the property is perfect for entertaining – she hosted her daughter’s wedding there in 1996.

The esteemed author, age 73, has been living in the new home she and her husband built next door since 2010. Starting her alphabet series with A is for Alibi back in 1982, she has written her way up to W is for Wasted, published in September 2013. We would guess that she has three more novels and one estate sale to go, before she even begins to think about retirement

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