What Happened To: Rhys Bowen, Karen Ann Wilson, Valerie Wolzien, Lee Harris, Jill Churchill, & Jonnie Jacobs

It’s time (again!) for me to ask you for your help. I have four Cozy Mystery readers who would like to know what has happened to these authors. If any of you have any information, we certainly would appreciate hearing a comment from you.

Brian:

“… I was wondering if you or your well-informed readers know why Rhys Bowen has stopped the wonderful Evans, the Welsh policeman series. I know she has two other series, but I always liked the Evans books the best.”

Barbara:

“… I was wondering why Karen Ann Wilson stopped writing cozy mysteries.  She left her readers hanging after the 4th book.  (Samantha Holt Mystery).  Any news on her, or whether she will write again?”

Marilyn:

“… What brought me to your site was my search for some Valerie Wolzien books.  I really enjoy them and have noticed that her writing seems to have stopped somewhere around 5 years ago if I am not mistaken.
 
My question… is, is Valerie Wolzien writing anymore?  I will miss her if she isn’t. I found her about a year ago and have been working my way through her series, but have come to the end, and can’t find any more of her books.”

MJ:

“What happened to all my favorites? Valerie Wolzien, Lee Harris, Jill Churchill’s Jane Jeffry’s series? I’ve been in withdrawal!

I forgot to mention Jonnie Jacobs… Missing them for years.”

Thank you (in advance) >>> In the past you all have been so helpful in tracking information down for other Cozy Mystery readers!

Comments

  1. There are so many nice series that start and then seem to just end….the poor authors must not have the following they need to keep being published.

    • Danna - cozy mystery list :

      Perhaps the authors whose publishers have dropped them will start going straight to the Kindle… Of course, without a publishing house to promote them, their work will be cut out for them to get the word out…

  2. I’m of no help at all with the questions (though I am eagerly awaiting the answers!) but I wanted to toss out a suggestion. I just discovered your blog but from the way you word this (“In the past…”), it appears as though you have done “whatever happened to…” posts before. Would you consider linking them in some way to the sidebar or perhaps through tags? There are a number of authors I’ve wondered about & if they’ve already been been featured in whatever-happened-to posts, I don’t want to repeat the requests – & I’d sure like to know the answers!

    Thanks for such a great blog & a great site collecting cozy authors.

    • Danna - cozy mystery list :

      This is a great idea, Sadie, but unfortunately, I would have to go through all of the entries in order to find those particular posts. I wish I had titled them all the same way, which would have made them easy to find…

  3. I miss Evans, too!

  4. Several years ago, Lee Harris announced that her publisher would no longer publish her original paperbacks. I really liked her Christine Bennett series and was disappointed to learn this. She, Valerie Wolzien, Jonnie Jacobs and Lee Roberts shared a website called Nuns, Mothers and Others.

    • Danna - cozy mystery list :

      Thank you, Cora! Looks like several of the very same authors who are being missed belonged to the Nuns, Mothers and Others website.

      What a drag!

  5. I emailed Rhy Bowen about a year ago and asked about the Evans series, she said the publisher she had stopped. It sounded like the sales were not high enough, she writes another series but I do not like it as well. I told her I really enjoyed it and hoped down the road there would be more. Her series reminded me of Hamish Mc Beth by M.C. Beaton which I also adore.

  6. I have no answers for you, only another question. I liked Joanne Pence – Angie Amalfi series. Did she start writing under a different name? Or just stop?

  7. Hi Danna
    I too like all four of the authors everyone has asked about.
    Valerie Wolzien I wrote to her sometime ago to ask if she was going to have anymore Susan mysteries as this series is my favorite. Alas, she said her EDITOR said it was a time for a change.
    So she had or was finishing up two new books, but had to find a new publisher to buy the books.
    Not quite sure about the publisher but do know she had written two books.
    But don’t know if it would be under a different name or what; as that was a year or two ago.
    I did wait for her name to come up with a new series, but didn’t hear from her so I forgot. Sorry not much help.
    hugs to Valerie and her old books as I do enjoy reading them but usually wait a few months; by that time I forgot who the murderer is…..I guess you see I sometimes am forgetful. haha.

    • Danna - cozy mystery list :

      Shirley, hopefully Wolzien will find a new publisher. I know she has MANY fans out there!

  8. The newest book by Jeanne M. Dams “A DARK AND STORMY NIGHT” after being quiet for 9 years…….. was worth the wait.
    I signed up at my friendly library here in my home town.
    This book was like a british maze; going round and round trying to solve the murder in an old house on a sort of an island and trapped with the murderer……but dear Dorothy is bored and starts thinking……and her dear husband is telling her to be very CAREFUL……
    I was surprised it came out in February/11 as I thought or understood it to be April/11.
    Rent it or Buy it……get in a comfortable chair and a quiet corner……………for a good time. I LOVED IT!
    grin.

  9. I too heard that the publisher stopped the Lee Harris and the Valerie Wolzien books. I think Jill Churchill’s books have the same appeal as the previous, but she was still publishing her 1920’s series, which I did not read. Why stop our current day sleuth but continue to 20’s mysteries? Also, Leslie Meier ‘s Lucy Stone series is very much like all of the above series. Yet she continues to be published. I can’t imagine why another company would not want to pick up these VERY enjoyable authors. Another author still being published and so similar is Katherine Hall Page – also new book every year. I didn’t realize Jonnie Jacobs shared a site with Lee Harris and Valerie Wolzien. I had seen that site and didn’t remember that fact. Jacob’s Murder Among…series was very much in the vein of the authors we are speaking about. But her Kali O’Brien series was definitely grittier – somewhat more along the lines of Jan Burke’s “Irene” series, though Burke’s are definitely more graphically violent. That is another great series.

    If anyone has any info as to whether Valerie Wolzien was able to get her books published, PLEASE STEP FORWARD!!! I’d love to have a visit with Elizabeth (or is it Jane, it’s been so long!) Henshaw and Josie Pigeon. All of the authors I’ve talked about are for the times you want to curl up on the sofa with a hot cup of tea or coffee and spend some time in a wonderful place.

    By the way, I hear Nancy Martin is working on a new Blackbird Sisters Mystery.

    • Danna - cozy mystery list :

      Thanks, MJ, for the promising news about Nancy Martin writing a new Blackbird Sisters mystery. I guess I just assumed that since she published her last Blackbird Sisters mystery in 2008, she was going to devote all of her time to her new Roxy Abruzzon series. Good to know!

    • YEAH! Need some more Blackbird Sister Mysteries…was going thru terrible withdrawl without them!!! All the other ones above too but I love those Blackbird Sisters, they are just so quirky. But Christine Bennett stories I miss so much too. I think there are just SO MANY of these above mentioned authors that I started out reading years ago when I changed from the more Stephen King/Dean Koontz genre to cozies because the world was becoming too much like the horror stories, that I treasure those first few hundred cozy mystery series and their authors…I love them because I can get so lost in them, become part of their books, forget what is going on outside my house, even inside most of the time…poor furniture that needs dusted, floors need scrubbed…oh well.

      • Danna - cozy mystery list :

        Sandra, years ago, I read a lot of true crime books. I now find a lot of them too difficult to read>>> Always, in the back of my head, I keep reminding myself that the story isn’t fiction…

        I’m afraid that as I get older, I find that the drudgery of housework has become even more unappealing than it used to be, even listening to my books on tape. So, I try not to look around too often with my reading glasses on!

  10. We need to convince these authors to go directly to Kindle on their own! I know it’s hard for publishers when they are making some money but want MORE so they always want to change the lineup! But that leaves us readers hanging!

  11. I agree wholeheartedly about these authors going to Kindle. Would be wonderful! How can we convince them?

  12. I agree with Maria’s comment about publishing through Kindle. So many authors that I enjoy have their series dropped by the publisher because their sales aren’t high enough. Surely with so many cozy mystery fans and blogs/social media to network through, these authors could do quite well if they would continue to write and publish through Amazon.

  13. I agree that it’s puzzling why Leslie Meiers’ Lucy Stone series is still published but very similar and very popular series like Valerie Wolzien and Jill Churchills’ are not. As for the Kindle idea, I’m not sure that going directly to Kindle would be as profitable for the authors. (Maybe like a movie going directly to DVD?) It seems to me that a lot of the former “cozy” authors have jumped on the vampire, ghost, etc bandwagon once it became so popular. I’m not a fan of those type series. For example I really like the Aurora Teagarden series but do not like that authors more recent (and again, very popular) series. BTW Valerie Wolzien was my very first “cozy” author and I really miss both of her series. Ditto for Jill Churchills contemporary series. Losing a series after you’ve grown attached to the character(s) is kind of like losing a friend.
    I don’t own a Kindle and I’m not sure it will give the same feeling as holding a book in my hand, although at the rate I’m running out of wall space for bookshelves, I see one in my future.

    Sandy

    • Danna - cozy mystery list :

      Sandy, I’m not a fan of the paranormal “bandwagon” either. I guess we should have been able to predict it, though, when Buffy the Vampire became such a huge hit, and then was followed by box office hit movies like Twilight, ETC. Also, some of the authors who went the paranormal route are now on the bestseller book lists with their paranormal mysteries.

  14. Danna - cozy mystery list :

    I agree with all of you about authors going directly to Kindle format. I heard from an author a few months ago who told me she is going directly to Kindle. I added her book on the New Releases page, and plan to continue doing so in the future…

  15. About our favorite, no-longer-around authors going directly to Kindle, I’ll bet they would not make as much as paper books. But aren’t they not making anything at all with no books out there for us to buy? I miss them so; it is truly like losing friends when we cannot “catch up” with our favorite characters. Shirley had mentioned earlier on this thread that Valerie Wolzien wrote two new books, but might be publishing under a different name. Did anyone ever hear anything about that? By the way, I’m SO not a fan of the paranormal/ vampire thing.

    • Danna - cozy mystery list :

      I’m afraid that you and I are in the minority on this one, Mary Joy. I just never developed an interest in paranormal mysteries. But, that is probably because I simply wasn’t interested enough in them to want to spend my time reading my first. Who knows? Perhaps if I finally read one, I may become hooked. (I somehow doubt it…)

      • I’m glad I’m not the only one who doesn’t like the Paranormal bent of newer mysteries. I’m hoping the pendulum will start to swing away from them soon.

        • Danna - cozy mystery list :

          Ange, I should just add that I finally tried some very lightly paranormal series and actually enjoyed a few of them. However, I still don’t go out of my way to find them.

  16. Does anyone know if Corrinne Holt Sawyer is still alive? She would be in her 80s, I think. I loved her Calif retirement home mysteries! Also Stefanie Matteson….

  17. Have some of these authors who cannot find a publisher, thought about starting up their own publishing company with some of the other authors who can’t find a publisher?

    • Danna - cozy mystery list :

      Jacklyn, I don’t know about starting up a new publishing company, but from a recent letter from an author on my site, I am hoping to see a lot more e-books from authors a lot of us followed:

      … A number of us cozy writers who have been out of the business for several years after so many of the mystery divisions of the big publishing houses shrank or disappeared are now getting back in as indie publishers, offering our older books and even our new ebooks at really low prices…

      I think that’s great news!

      • does anyone know what happened to Dicey Deere and to Carole Bugge

        • Danna - cozy mystery list :

          Sandy, Isabella asked the same question , which I converted into a blog entry on March 12, 2012. Stephanie came up with this response:

          “Stephanie March 20, 2012 at 2:25 pm
          Apparently, her real name is Harriet La Barre.

          It’s a suspense thriller, though. She also writes romances and self-help books, it seems.

          I found this out by googling Dicey Deere, from which I learned (from her publisher’s site) that she lives in Sag Harbor, NY. I then googled “Dicey Deere” and “Sag Harbor” and found the site http://www.fineartistmade.com/testimonials.php, which mentioned her true name.

          I guess I’m just good at google stalking. “

  18. Would love to see more of nuns, mother’s and other’s. It is good to know that I’m not alone in missing the works of Valerie Wolzien, Jill Churchill and Lee Harris. The characters’ were old friends and I really feel left in the lurch.

    I would be lost without another Lucy Stone mystery and yet this character is very much like the characters’ we have grown to follow and love and they no longer are being published.

  19. My mistake, I continue to read Leslie Meier’s Lucy Stone series and look forward to new addtions in the future

  20. I was referring to the loss of mystery writers such as Valerie Wolzien and Jill Churchill and inadvertently added Leslie Meier to the list of lost writers.
    Did anyone ever find out if Valerie Wolzien published any new books under a different name?

    • Danna - cozy mystery list :

      Aha, Cyndy, sometimes it takes me a while to catch on. Sorry about that. I totally agree with your sentiments about authors discontinuing their series. I am hoping that with the e-books out there, they will go back to the series we have grown to love, and put them out in Kindle and Nook types of books.

      Here’s hoping!

  21. I also loved Valerie Wolzien books and also Patricia Sprinkle, and many others. When if ever will they write more books. I will be heartbroken if not.

  22. i cannot believe there are almost no 2013 comments…to the last question, pat sprinkle writes under a # of different names and they are terrific. two years later from all these 2011 posts, wolzien and churchill have always been my favorites…i am heartbroken that i have lost them. what about the new wolzien books mentioned?

    • Danna - cozy mystery list :

      Georgia and Sandra, I’m sorry but I don’t know if Valerie Wolzien is writing under another name, or not.

  23. I also missed Karen Ann Wilson, as I love mysteries that feature pets, esp dogs, being owned myself by the Queen of the Dachshunds. I just found out what Karen has been up to – she has a book out called “Wrinkles in Time” -non-fiction about Rescue Bloodhounds, I believe. – “About the Author – KAREN ANN WILSON is an award-winning author, specializing in animal and nature-related works. Although her first four books were mysteries (Berkley Prime Crime), she originally wrote non-fiction. She edited a veterinary column for the St. Petersburg Times, now the Tampa Bay Times, and freelanced nature and environmental articles to numerous publications. She has spoken at several writers and fan conferences, including Sleuthfest (Florida Chapter of the Mystery Writers of America) and Malice Domestic. Her educational background includes degrees in chemistry/biology, marine science, and veterinary technology. She worked for twenty years in the field of environmental management. Karen lives on a small farm near Ocala, Florida, with her husband, three cats, two dogs, six horses, two ducks and a small flock of chickens. She also raises orchids and is an accredited judge with the American Orchid Society.

    • Danna - cozy mystery list :

      Thank you, Dawn B, for keeping us in the Karen Ann Wilson.

      Give my best to the Queen of the Dachshunds!

  24. I’m so excited to have found this site! I had no idea there was such a place on the net. I had been wondering about Jill Churchill and found an email addy on this site. When I sent it, the email came back saying the address was no longer viable but might be sent to another site so she could get it. I hope so. I would love to see another Jane Jeffrey. Thank you to the maker of this site for giving us cozy fans a place to congregate and visit with each other and keep an eye on new releases.

    • Danna - cozy mystery list :

      Welcome to the site, Julie O. It is great to be able to congregate and visit with each other, isn’t it? I hope to see you here a lot!

  25. I also miss the Wolzien, Harris, Jacobs mysteries and keep hoping they will get a new life as Jeanne Dams’ Dorothy Martin series did after a long absence–with four more in print and more to come. Urge everyone who can afford it to buy the books of their favorites so they will keep coming. So glad I found this site.

    • Danna - cozy mystery list :

      Lorna, several of my favorite authors have stopped writing mystery books, also. When that happens, I always wonder if they simply decided to stop writing their series, or if their publishers made the decision.

  26. The names of Wolzien, Harris, Jacobs and Churchill keep coming up over and over. Alas, it seems we will not have our wish to hear more from our favorites. Is there anything we can actually do to make this happen? (thinking not, unfortunately)

    • Danna - cozy mystery list :

      Mary Joy, those Cozy Mystery authors’ names do indeed keep coming up. (Unfortunately, I think you’re correct!)

  27. I loved Valerie Wolzien’s Susan Henshaw and Josie Pigeon mysteries and couldn’t wait for the next ones to come out (have all her books in my library). Don’t know what the publishers gripe is because I always found her books at the bookstores sold out. Just good clean, easy and entertaining reading.

    • Danna - cozy mystery list :

      JaniceR, there have been several authors who I thought had a big fan base who don’t seem to be writing Cozy Mystery books any longer. I don’t know if the authors decided to retire or take a sabbatical, OR if the publishers decided it was time for the authors to stop writing. It’s a shame.

  28. A few months ago, I read a story related to a well known author. She mentioned that Valerie Wolzien’s publisher had quit her books and added others along the same vein. This has happened to a lot of paperback authors and some hard back as well. At an author’s signing, she mentioned that her publisher was controlling which hero she wrote about.

    The author was going on vacation with Valerie W and I was hoping some news would come out. My senior moment can’t remember which author it was. That said, a lot of small publishing houses are springing up all over the country and on the west coast. I know they have picked up a few of the missing authors. NY is no longer the center of the publishing game, thank goodness.

    • Danna - cozy mystery list :

      Louise, I am so glad to hear that some of the authors who we all loved might possibly find new publishing houses. Thanks for the information.

  29. The author that vacationed with Valerie was Katherine Hall Page. So glad to see that I am not alone missing Valerie Wolzien, Lee Harris and Jill Churchill! I keep hoping to see a new e-book from one or all of them soon.

    • Danna - cozy mystery list :

      Wendy, wouldn’t it be great if our favorite Cozy Mystery authors who are no longer publishing through their original publishing houses would start putting out ebooks?!?

      • Danna, I would love it. I check frequently, someday I hope to be pleasantly surprised.

        • Danna - cozy mystery list :

          Well, Wendy, if you ever find out anything about her publishing more mysteries, please let us know.

  30. Just starting Lee Harris and I love her Christine Bennett Mysteries. Just got caught up today and was disappointed to see there are no more. I sent her an email and hopefully she will get back and let me know if she will continue. I like the suggestions about kindle.

  31. Re Wolzien & Harris
    This old newsletter on Jonnie Jacobs’ website includes an entry by each author regarding books in progress. Valerie gives names and thumbnail details of her new characters – alas no results from googling those names.
    http://www.jonniejacobs.com/newsletter/nmowinter06.html

    It’s interesting rereading cozies written in the late 1980s and early 1990s – virtually no mention of mobile phones, personal computers, let alone google searches or social media! Perhaps current publishers underestimate readers ability to inhabit a recent but less technological era along with the book’s characters (who still manage to solve the murder etc)?

    Anyone else remember Menu for Murder – the fun tv movie based on Wolzien’s Murder at the PTA Luncheon?

  32. Kindle is the obvious solution and I do not understand why the authors who have been dropped do not take advantage of it.
    They have followers waiting for their books. All the new self published authors who have found their audience seem to be doing very well if you consider the increasing bodies of work and rising prices.
    Glad to have found this blog and some information.

    • Carolyn H, right! I was hoping that now that so many authors are able to write their mysteries and put them out on Kindle/Nook format, we would see some of our old faves. It sure would be nice!

      • Totally addicted to the instant delivery and another plus would be less books to store. Do not want to think about another move with all this stuff.
        There are certain books that I personally would always want in hand, but the mysteries, war fiction and my personal vampire addiction can all live happily on Kindle, Nook etc.
        Not everyone is a packrat, but after the move from H**l four years ago I finally ditched records and VCR, but there is no way I could ever toss a book. I could certainly replace many of them with an ebook, but as this blog proves most of us would really like to be adding new books from our “lost” authors.

        • Carolyn H, I have given away many, many “real” books. It took me a while to finally get Kindle-ized, and there is no going back for me! I not only love that I have all my books on my Kindle, but I also enjoy being able to adjust the font. When my husband was in the Air Force, that meant moving a lot. We finally gave away our records right before we moved here. And, last week I finally got rid of our VCR tapes.

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