Evans, Geraldine 1953- (Geraldine Hartnett)

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Evans, Geraldine 1953- (Geraldine Hartnett)

PERSONAL:

Born October 20, 1953, in London, England; daughter of Jeremiah (a driver on the London Underground) and Mary Catherine (a shop assistant and machinist) Hartnett; married George Austin Shepton Evans (a motor mechanic), August 21, 1987; children: two step-children. Ethnicity: "Irish." Education: St. Catherine's (secondary school), graduated 1970. Religion: Roman Catholic (lapsed). Hobbies and other interests: Painting, music, gardening (including propagation), history, sewing, interior design, reading, photography.

ADDRESSES:

Office—DIY Home Improvements, 11 Mundesley Rd., North Walsham, Norfolk NR28 0DA, England. Agent—Vanessa Holt, Vanessa Holt, Ltd., 59 Crescent Rd., Leigh-on-Sea, Essex SS9 2PF, England. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

Novelist. Has also worked in a series of clerical positions.

MEMBER:

Mystery Women, Crime Writers Association, Historical Novel Society.

WRITINGS:

NOVELS

Land of Dreams, Robert Hale (London, England), 1991.

Up in Flames, Severn House (Sutton, England), 2003.

(Under name Geraldine Hartnett) Reluctant Queen (historical fiction), Robert Hale (London, England), 2004.

"RAFFERTY AND LLEWELLYN" MYSTERY SERIES

Dead Before Morning, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1993.

Down Among the Dead Men, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1994.

Death Line, Macmillan (London, England), 1995.

The Hanging Tree, Macmillan (London, England), 1996.

Absolute Poison, Severn House (Sutton, England), 2002.

Dying for You, Severn House (Sutton, England), 2004.

Bad Blood, Severn House (Sutton, England), 2005.

Love Lies Bleeding, Severn House (Sutton, England), 2005.

Blood on the Bones, Severn House (Sutton, England), 2006.

A Thrust to the Vitals, Severn House (Sutton, England), 2007.

Killing Karma, Severn House (Sutton, England), 2007.

Contributor to periodicals.

SIDELIGHTS:

English writer Geraldine Evans is the author of a number of books that have gained her fans in both the romance and crime genres. However, she is best known as the author of the "Rafferty and Llewellyn" mysteries, a series featuring what a Publishers Weekly reviewer characterized as an "‘odd couple’ team of sleuths." Working together in numerous novels, Detective Inspector Joseph Rafferty and Sergeant Dafyd Llewellyn team up to solve all manner of heinous crimes involving murder most foul. Branching out in the crime genre, Evans has also embarked upon a second series featuring British sleuths Will Casey and Thomas Catt, with the 2003 novel Up in Flames.

Rafferty and Llewellyn first team up in Dead Before Morning, which was Evans's first attempt at penning a crime thriller. The novel finds the two men tracking down the murderer of a London prostitute and following the trail to a private psychiatric hospital where a host of suspects await. While noting that first-time crime writer Evans "drops some crucial clues" too early in the action, a Publishers Weekly contributor nonetheless found the "often comic" story enticing, and hoped for more from "the verbose, expansive Rafferty and his solemn cohort."

Evans serves up more in the "Rafferty and Llewellyn" series, scoring positive reviews from most critics with her fifth series outing, Absolute Poison. In this novel, Evans's knowledge of the business world—she once worked as an office temp while writing novels on the side—is brought to the fore in a plot that focuses on the death-by-poisoned yogurt of a ruthless business manager hired to streamline the workings of Aimhurst & Sons. When a noted office gossip is the second to be killed, Llewellyn and Rafferty have to wade into the quagmire of office politics, in a novel replete with what Booklist contributor Emily Melton described as "an ingeniously constructed plot, deft dialogue, well-drawn characters, and … humorous touches." In Library Journal Rex Klett also praised the work, citing Evans' "emphasis on police procedure" and an "amusing subplot" involving Sergeant Llewellyn's impending nuptials.

With the 2004 installment to the series, Dying for You, Rafferty is investigating a double murder with himself as the prime suspect. Urged by friends and his mother to finally find a mate and get married, Rafferty attends a singles' night at a dating agency, using the identity of his cousin Nigel. He meets not one, but two women that night, and both are later found murdered. Rafferty/Nigel was the last to see either alive. His identity protected for the time being, Rafferty is in a race with time to find the real killer before the mysterious "Nigel" is unveiled. Booklist reviewer Melton praised the "proficient writing, … inventive plot, and Evans' usual well-crafted procedural detail" in this sixth addition to the series. Similarly, a Kirkus Reviews critic noted: "Evans brings wit and insight to this tale of looking for love in all the wrong places." With Bad Blood Evans sets her protagonists on the trail of the murderer of an elderly widow. Rafferty, however, suffering the setback of another failed romance, has trouble focusing on this case. The lead suspect seems to be the dead woman's daughter, Jane Ogilvie, who will inherit her mother's estate. Other suspects soon turn up, as well, including the woman's ex-husband and neighbors of the deceased. A Kirkus Reviews writer had praise for this offering, observing that "Evans's seventh provides a spirited mix of detection, family drama and social commentary." Melton, writing again in Booklist, also provided a positive assessment of Bad Blood, terming it "reliable and consistently satisfying."

Loves Lies Bleeding finds Llewellyn and Rafferty investigating the stabbing death of the powerful director of a fashion house, Raymond Raine. The pair of detectives do not quite believe the confession of the man's wife, Felicity, and set out to find the truth of who might stand to gain from Raine's death. The list is long, and the investigation becomes yet more complicated when Felicity retracts her confession. On the domestic front, Rafferty's girlfriend, Abra, has returned with mixed results. Melton noted in Booklist that this series installment offers "solid fare for fans of British procedurals." Likewise, a Kirkus Reviews critic concluded: "Evans's puzzler unfolds at a pleasant pace, fueled by her good humor and quirky characterizations."

With the 2006 Blood on the Bones, Evans sends Rafferty to the convent, quite literally, as he investigates the murder of a Carmelite nun. A lapsed Catholic, Rafferty is at least familiar with Church procedure as he looks into the lives of fellow cloistered nuns and others who might have been responsible for the killing. A Kirkus Reviews writer had a mixed assessment of this novel, observing that "Evans's ear for just the right word more than makes up for her lackadaisical plotting." Melton, writing in Booklist, found more to like in Blood on the Bones, noting: "Clever plotting and polished prose make for a cracking good British police procedural." In A Thrust to the Vitals, the 2007 series addition, Rafferty risks his career to protect his brother from a murder charge. Someone has killed Rufus Seward, a wealthy native of Elmhurst, where Rafferty and Llewellyn fight crime. Suspicion falls on Mickey, the carpenter brother of Rafferty, who has been an archenemy of bully-ish Seward since youth. Rafferty hides Mickey away in a trailer while he tries to find the real killer, meantime antagonizing not only his police partner, but also his fiancée, Abra. "Evans's latest entry sits squarely in the Rafferty-Llewellyn tradition of solid, straightforward detection mingled with family mayhem," thought a Kirkus Reviews critic.

Regarding her career as a writer, Evans once told CA: "I was first inclined to write when I hit one of those milestone birthdays: for me it was hitting thirty. I had been trying to write novels for about five years before this, but never managed to finish one. Reaching thirty concentrated the mind wonderfully. Unfortunately, although, after reaching that milestone birthday I did succeed in finishing a novel, no one rushed to sign me up. Still, I persevered. In all, I wrote a novel a year for six years, all aimed at the Mills & Boon romance market. All were rejected. I then cut my losses, cut the sixth romance to a length and content acceptable to what was then the ‘Rainbow Romance’ series of Robert Hale in England and it was accepted from the slush pile and published in 1991." That book, Land of Dreams, marked the beginning of Evans' brief career as a romance novelist. She has also penned the historical novel Reluctant Queen, under the pen name Geraldine Hartnett, which tells the little-known story of Henry VIII's younger sister, Mary.

"There's no secret formula to getting published, beyond biting the bullet of rejection time after time, carrying on, slogging away at the ‘day job’ and keeping on writing," Evans also noted. "It's what I've done, and what countless other rejected would-be authors have done. And if you want to get published—unless you're a superstar and lucky with it, it's what you'll have to do, too. There's a John Wayne film that says it all. It's called True Grit. If there's a secret to getting published, that's it."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, January 1, 2003, Emily Melton, review of Absolute Poison, p. 854; August 1, 2004, Emily Melton, review of Dying for You, p. 1904; January 1, 2005, Emily Melton, review of Bad Blood, p. 825; September 15, 2005, Emily Melton, review of Love Lies Bleeding, p. 34; June 1, 2006, Emily Melton, review of Blood on the Bones, p. 43.

Kirkus Reviews, March 15, 2003, review of Absolute Poison, p. 429; August 15, 2004, review of Dying for You, p. 780; March 15, 2005, review of Bad Blood, p. 319; September 15, 2005, review of Love Lies Bleeding, p. 1002; September 1, 2006, review of Blood on the Bones, p. 877; March 15, 2007, review of A Thrust to the Vitals.

Library Journal, April 1, 2003, Rex E. Klett, review of Dead Before Morning, p. 135; May 1, 2003, Rex Klett, review of Absolute Poison, p. 159.

Publishers Weekly, February 15, 1993, review of Dead Before Morning, p. 218; November 14, 1994, review of Down Among the Dead Men, p. 55; April 28, 2003, review of Absolute Poison, p. 53.

Wilson Library Bulletin, June, 1993, Gail Pool, review of Dead Before Morning, p. 108.

ONLINE

Euro Crime,http://www.eurocrime.co.uk/ (June 7, 2007), Karen Meek, reviews of Dying for You and Love Lies Bleeding.

Geraldine Evans Web site,http://www.geraldineevans.com (June 7, 2007).

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