Those “Missing” Authors: An Update

In December I posted about crime novelists who have vanished from the publishing scene as well as those who have left us for the great beyond. Both posts have been among my most successful to date. Thank you, readers!

Read “Whatever Happened to (Name an Author)” here and “In Memory of My Favorite Mystery Authors” here.

Thanks also for the updates you sent and for asking what happened to your own favorite authors who, for whatever reason, are no longer publishing.

Here are some updates / additions to my original posts:

Strawberry SundayStephen Greenleaf, author of the PI John Marshall “Marsh” Tanner series set in San Francisco, wrote from 1979-2000. In this interview, he explains why he stopped writing.

Reginald Hill This English crime writer created Yorkshire detectives Dalziel and Pascoe, a series adapted for television. Mr. Hill died in 2012. His Wikipedia entry is here.

Susan Kandel Author Diane Vallere was in touch with Susan Kandel and gave me this update:

Susan is still writing and working on a new series. She’s flattered that people ask about her. I’m not sure if she responded to you as well, but if you wanted to do an update, I’m sure you could repeat that and she’d be fine with it.

For more information on Susan Kandel and her books, see her website (not updated as of this posting) here.

A Dickens of a MurderJoyce Lavene We lost this prolific and charming author in October of 2015. I had the pleasure of meeting her and Jim Lavene, her husband / writing partner at the Suffolk Mystery Author’s Festival. The team penned an incredible number of mysteries, in several series. See their complete bibliography here.

Martha Lawrence From my blog comments:

I’d love to know what happened to Martha Lawrence, who wrote several Elizabeth Chase mysteries, including Murder in Scorpio. Her protag was psychic. I wonder if killing off one of the main characters impacted her sales.

When I researched Martha Lawrence I found that she now co-writes with management expert Ken Blanchard. The Rap Sheet explains why Ms. Lawrence stopped writing mysteries. See the post here and Ms. Lawrence’s Amazon author page here.

Barbara Burnett Smith wrote the the Purple Sage Mystery series and the Cassie Ferris Beading Series, both set in Texas. We lost this wonderful author in 2005. Mystery author Karen MacInerney completed Beads of Doubt in 2007. See Ms. Smith’s bibliography here.

A Merry Little MurderMary Welk Her series featured Caroline Rhodes, a nurse in Rhineburg, Illinois. Ms. Welk passed away on December 1, 2015. See her website here.


Readers, let me know of any favorite authors you’re missing and would like to see back on store bookshelves. I’ll post an update at a later date.



Those “Missing” Authors: An Update — 29 Comments

  1. Thank you for mentioning Joyce. It looks like you and I got to meet her for the first time at the same time and place. How blessed we were to have that time. I am still in shock at the lose of this lovely soul. Her writing is an amazing legacy that she has left for us all.

    • Lisa, thanks for commenting. Yes, the mystery community is still reeling from Joyce’s unexpected passing. I agree, what a great body of work she left!

  2. I’ve always enjoyed reading cozy writer Valerie Wolzien’s books. She wrote the Susan Henshaw mysteries and the Josie Pigeon mysteries, and I miss them both! Unfortunately, she doesn’t seem to have a web presence. Would love to see her add to both series.

    • Ms. Wolzien and her husband are partners in Wolzien LLC ( I emailed her, asking about her writing plans. I’ll let you know when I hear back.

    • Linda, Valerie Wolzien has responded to my request on her writing status. She is alive and well, but is no longer writing. She loved writing mysteries, was lucky enough to have enthusiastic readers, and an excellent publisher. But family issues intervened, writing could no longer be her top priority, and traveling to publicize the books was limited. So when her editor retired she decided to retire as well. Looking for a new publisher didn’t appeal to her. But she’s happy that she gets to read a lot now!

  3. Tamar Myers, Jo Dereske, and Elaine Flinn. Did they change their names? Leave us for the fluffy clouds in heaven? I loved their mysteries.

    • Susan, I will do some research on these three and get back to you. I know that Jo Dereske intentionally discontinued her Miss Zukas series; in fact, I haven’t read the last one because I don’t want to have finished the series!

      I like your “fluffy clouds in heaven” phrase.

      • Thank you. Wow I really loved Elaine Flinn and surprised I just found her books and dismayed at the loss and no future stories. Thank you so much for finding out about the others for me. I must admit when I get caught up in a series I try to get them all and read them in order – Such happened with Joe Dereske’s series. Thanks again.

        • Susan, I just got this from Jo Dereske: “I’ve kept a bit of a low profile lately. It was bittersweet but the correct time to end the Miss Zukas series. I’m currently working on a stand-alone mystery, which I plan to finish this year.”

          I’m looking forward to her new mystery.

    • Mary, I’ll check on Madelyn Alt. It may take a day or two to get back to you. Thanks for your inquiry.

    • Mary, All I could find on Madelyn Alt was her Facebook page which includes several inquiries from her fans. They want to know what happened to her and when she would be publishing again. She isn’t responding to these inquiries. I saw on a Yahoo board that she truly “vanished” in 2012. I sent her a friend request and we’ll see if she accepts. In the meantime, let me know if your learn anything.

    • LaVonne, I’ll see what I can find out about Nina Wright and get back to you. Thanks for asking.

  4. I remember when Barbara Burnett Smith died. She was in my local Austin Sisters in Crime group.

    One author I miss is Jill Churchill. Last I heard, she was in some conflict with her publisher? Or something. I really enjoyed her books.

    • Bobbi, I mentioned Jill in one of my earlier posts but I haven’t been able to find any info on her current status. If you do, please let me know. I enjoyed the Jane Jeffry series.

    • Barbara Burnett Smith was a woman of great energy, charm, and empathy. She died tragically trying to help a rescue dog she was adopting. She was active in the Texas mystery community, and I really miss her. She was writing books she loved when she left us. I’m glad you’re giving us a chance to remember and celebrate writers who are no longer writing. Stephen Greenleaf’s reason for “retiring” is sadly typical. Nowadays it would have been much easier for him to consider indie publishing.

      • Carole, thanks for commenting. I am very grateful to the readers who have given me many new writers to enjoy … and reminded me of ones I’ve long cherished.

  5. sad! all the ones we’ve lost to heaven, glad to hear some are just not writing (or writing different things)

    • Sandra, I can’t find anything current on M.K. I sent a message to my Oregon source; maybe she knows something.

      • My Oregon source is fast! She hasn’t heard about M.K. in some time and was recently wondering about her. If she hears anything she’ll let me know. Thanks for asking.

  6. Have to say I loved this post. I am sorry that publishers have abandoned our wonderful cozy writers. Hoping that with Hallmark Movies and Mysteries channel that maybe the publishers will re-evaluate their decisions.

    • Susan, Thank you. I’m happy that you enjoyed my post. I understand the frustration of “running out” of an author’s works. I still haven’t read Jo Dereske’s last Miss Zukas story because I don’t want to finish the series!

      I still have a couple of names to research, so stay tuned.