Elaine Viets is a Midwestern American newspaperwoman and mystery writer.
Life and career
A native of St. Louis, Missouri, Viets has a degree in journalism and became a longtime popular media figure in St. Louis. She was a regular columnist for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch for twenty-five years, her columns focusing mostly on local issues and human-interest fare. She also hosted the local light-news television program Viets Beat, for which she won Emmy Awards in 1989 and 1990. After moving to Washington, D.C. and leaving the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Viets wrote a syndicated column carried by United Feature Syndicate and later by United Media.
She also began writing mystery novels and eventually left the newspaper business almost entirely to become a full-time novelist. Viets first drew on her professional experience to produce four novels set in St. Louis and featuring fictional St. Louis newspaper columnist Francesca Vierling (and exciting speculation over which characters might represent real-life Post-Dispatch figures).
By the time she had written the last of these, Viets had relocated to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, in 1997, which became the locale for her next novels, the Dead-End Jobs series. Viets researches these books herself by taking the same sort of low-level dead-end jobs—telemarketer, shop clerk, and so forth—as the series' protagonist, Helen Hawthorne.
Viets, married for over thirty years to author and actor Don Crinklaw, is active in the trade organizations Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime. She is a board member of the Mystery Writers of America. In 2004 she was nominated for three Agatha Awards. In 2005, she won awards presented for Best Short Story at two notable mystery conventions: an Agatha Award at Malice Domestic Ltd and an Anthony Award at Bouchercon, both for her story Wedding Knife.
On April 11, 2007, Viets's fellow contributors to The Lipstick Chronicles reported that Viets had suffered a stroke. According to a subsequent update, Viets is recovering well and is again creating mysteries based on real life and the people who live it.
Francesca Vierling series
Dead-End Job series
- Viets, Elaine (2003). Shop Till You Drop. Signet. ISBN 0-451-20855-2.
- Viets, Elaine (2003). Murder Between the Covers. Signet. ISBN 0-451-21081-6.
- Viets, Elaine (2004). Dying to Call You. Signet. ISBN 0-451-21332-7.
- Viets, Elaine (2005). Just Murdered. Signet. ISBN 0-451-21492-7.
- Viets, Elaine (2007). Murder Unleashed. Signet. ISBN 0-451-22108-7.
- Viets, Elaine (2007). Murder with Reservations. NAL Hardcover. ISBN 0-451-22111-7.
- Viets, Elaine (2008). Clubbed to Death. NAL Hardcover. ISBN 978-1-615-51534-9.
- Viets, Elaine (2009). Killer Cuts. Signet. ISBN 0-451-22854-5.
- Viets, Elaine (2010). Half-Price Homicide. NAL/Obsidian. ISBN 978-0-451-23154-3.
- Viets, Elaine (2011). Pumped for Murder. NAL/Obsidian. ISBN 978-0-451-23320-2.
- Viets, Elaine (2012). Final Sail. NAL/Obsidian. ISBN 978-0-451-23674-6.
- Viets, Elaine (2013). Board Stiff. NAL/Obsidian. ISBN 978-0-451-23985-3.
- Viets, Elaine (2014). Catnapped!. Obsidian. ISBN 978-0-451-46630-3.
Josie Marcus series
- Viets, Elaine (2005). Dying in Style: Josie Marcus, Mystery Shopper. Signet. ISBN 0-451-21679-2.
- Viets, Elaine (2006). High Heels Are Murder: Josie Marcus, Mystery Shopper. Signet. ISBN 0-451-21988-0.
- Viets, Elaine (2007). Accessory to Murder: Josie Marcus, Mystery Shopper. Signet. ISBN 0-451-22258-X.
- Viets, Elaine (2008). Murder with All the Trimmings: Josie Marcus, Mystery Shopper. Signet. ISBN 0-451-22548-1.
- Viets, Elaine (2009). The Fashion Hound Murders: Josie Marcus, Mystery Shopper. Signet. ISBN 978-0-451-22842-0.
- Viets, Elaine (2010). An Uplifting Murder: Josie Marcus, Mystery Shopper. Obsidian. ISBN 978-0-451-23170-3.
- Viets, Elaine (2011). Death on a Platter: Josie Marcus, Mystery Shopper. Obsidian. ISBN 978-0-451-23524-4.
- Viets, Elaine (2012). Murder Is a Piece of Cake: Josie Marcus, Mystery Shopper. Obsidian. ISBN 978-0-451-23851-1.
- Viets, Elaine (2013). Fixing to Die: Josie Marcus, Mystery Shopper. Signet. ISBN 978-0-451-24098-9.
Short stories and novelettes
- Viets, Elaine (2004). "Red Meat". In Lawrence Block (editor). Blood on Their Hands. Berkley. ISBN 0-425-19924-X.
- Viets, Elaine (2004). "Blonde Moment". In Stuart M. Kaminsky (editor). Show Business Is Murder. Berkley. ISBN 0-425-19652-6.
- Viets, Elaine (2004). "Wedding Knife". In Stuart M. Kaminsky (editor). Chesapeake Crimes. Quiet Storm. ISBN 0-9749608-0-2.
- Viets, Elaine (2005). "Killer Blonde". Drop-Dead Blonde. Elaine Viets, Nancy Martin, Denise Swanson, Victoria Laurie. Signet. ISBN 0-451-21444-7.
- Viets, Elaine (1988). Urban Affairs: Tales from the Heart of the City. Viets et al. Patrice Press. ISBN 0-935284-65-6.
- Viets, Elaine (1993). Viets Guide to Sex, Travel and Anything Else That Will Sell This Book (3rd ed.). Patrice Press. ISBN 0-935284-72-9.
- Viets, Elaine (1995). St. Louis: Home on the River (Urban Tapestry). Viets et al.
- Viets, Elaine (1997). How to Commit Monogamy: A Lighthearted Look at Long-Term Love. Andrews McMeel. ISBN 0-8362-2723-9.
- Viets, Elaine (1997). How to Survive the Happiest Day of Your Life (audio cassette). Dh Audio. ISBN 0-88646-902-3.
- Viets, Elaine (1998). Censored Viets [UNABRIDGED] (audio cassette). Wildstone Audio. ISBN 1-882467-00-0.
- Viets, Elaine (2000). "Introduction". In Quinta Scott (editor). Images of St. Louis. University of Missouri Press. ISBN 0-8262-0697-2.
- Kramer, Staci (February 1, 1996). "Viets-Post marriage on the rocks? Editor Woo takes over negotiations. (Includes related article on the 'Retain Elaine' party at Pancke House)". St. Louis Journalism Review. 26 (183).
- St. John, Burt (September 1, 1996). "Viets' future with the Post uncertain; she continues to build syndication". St. Louis Journalism Review. 26 (189).
- ^ abcSteve Glassman (2007). Florida crime writers: 24 interviews. McFarland. p. 195. ISBN 0-7864-3083-4.
- ^Ed Gorman, Martin H. Greenberg (2004). The World's Finest Mystery and Crime Stories, Volume 2 World's Finest Mystery and Crime Series (5th ed.). Macmillan. p. 275. ISBN 0-7653-1146-1.
The mystery world lost a guiding light when Sue Grafton died this past December. To make matters worse, Grafton’s iconic Alphabet Series was only one letter short of completion, after last year’s Y is for Yesterday. Still, her series stands as a towering achievement in the field and her influence will linger on for years. As Elaine Viets says in this issue, “Sue Grafton had three children and countless literary daughters.”
Another sad loss was the death of Joan Hess, author of the Maggody and Claire Malloy mystery series, in November. In addition to her enjoyable body of work, she was a prankster and a merry presence at mystery conferences, particularly Malice Domestic. She will be missed.
Happily, the mystery genre is constantly renewing itself with bright new talents. A case in point is Australian author Jane Harper, whose first book, The Dry, garnered her many fans here in North America. Her second book, Force of Nature, continues the winning streak. Craig Sisterson catches up with her in this issue.
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After reading a stack of books recommended by Oprah Winfrey, Karen E. Olson was ready for some strong, resilient women characters who took charge of their own lives and definitely weren’t victims. She found what she was looking for in the works of Marcia Muller, Sue Grafton, Linda Barnes, and Lillian O’Donnell. Add these influences to her own journalism background and the result are three different series, each with strong women characters. John B. Valeri talks with Olson in this issue.