Keziah Dane
File:Grafton Keziah Dane cover.png
1967 first edition
AuthorSue Grafton
CountryUnited States
PublisherThe MacMillan Company
Publication date
Media typePrint (Hardcover)
Pages220 (first edition)
Followed byThe Lolly-Madonna War 

Keziah Dane is a 1967 novel by American writer Sue Grafton.[1] A work of mainstream fiction, this novel was published by Grafton when she was 27 years old.[2] This is one of two Sue Grafton novels published before her "Alphabet" series of mystery novels.[3]

This is the fourth novel Grafton wrote but the first one published.[4] Originally written under the title The Seventh Day of Keziah Dane, Grafton entered the unpublished novel in an Anglo-American Book Award contest.[5] The novel did not win, but it drew a publication offer from a British publisher which Grafton used to get an agent who got the book an American publisher, Macmillan.[5]

Plot summary

Keziah Dane is a widow who lives "on the brink of poverty" with her children in a small Kentucky town. She lost her husband in a flood that also devastated their town. A vagrant named Web gains Keziah's trust then attempts to rape her eldest daughter. The daughter fends off the attack but kills Web in the process. The body is dumped in the flooded town and unexpected complications ensue for the Dane family.

Critical reaction

Contemporary reaction was positive with featured reviews in The New York Times[6] and Los Angeles Times,[7] among others. Reviewer Marjorie Driscoll noted that Grafton presented her "widely varied array of characters" in a "sympathetic and understanding story" while displaying her "versatility" by "making them all very real."[7]


  1. ^ Kleber, John E. (2001). The Encyclopedia of Louisville. University Press of Kentucky. p. 521. ISBN 978-0-8131-2100-0.
  2. ^ White, Claire E. (October 1999). "A Conversation With Sue Grafton". Writers Write. Her first two novels were not mysteries. Her first novel was published when she was 27 (Keziah Dane), and her second was published two years after that (The Lolly-Madonna War).
  3. ^ McDonnell, Brandy (2007-04-15). "Sue Grafton sees mystery behind ABCs". Daily Oklahoman.
  4. ^ Richards, Linda L. (1997). ""G" is for Grafton: Sue Grafton's Murderous Moments". January Magazine. Her first published book was the fourth book she'd written: Keziah Dane published was in 1967.
  5. ^ a b Beattie, L. Elisabeth (2003). Conversations With Kentucky Writers. University Press of Kentucky. p. 90. ISBN 978-0-8131-9043-3.
  6. ^ "New Books". The New York Times. 1967-10-02. p. 44.
  7. ^ a b Driscoll, Marjorie (1967-10-22). "Farm, Flood and Aftermath". Los Angeles Times. p. S40.