PERSONAL: Born in Atlanta, GA; married Bill Holbrook (syndicated cartoonist); children: two. Education: College of William and Mary, B.A. Hobbies and other interests: Pottery.
CAREER: Writer and journalist. C.O.P.S. crime prevention program, community liaison; has made numerous speaking appearances.
MEMBER: Sisters in Crime, Women's National Book Association, Mystery Writers of America.
AWARDS, HONORS: Georgia Press Association Award for Best Feature Writing; (with others) Penney-Missouri Award runner-up; Agatha Award nomination, Anthony Award nomination, Macavity Award nomination, and Georgia Author of the Year Award nomination, all 1996, all for A Far and Deadly Cry; Edgar Award nomination for Best Paperback Original, Anthony Award nomination for Best Paperback Original, Agatha Award nomination for Best Novel, and Macavity Award nomination for Best Novel, all 1997, all for The Grass Widow; nominated for Edgar Allan Poe Award in category for best paperback original, Mystery Writers of America, 2002, for The Mother Tongue.
"GALE GRAYSON" MYSTERY SERIES
A Far and Deadly Cry, Bantam (New York, NY), 1995.
The Grass Widow, Bantam (New York, NY), 1996.
Sad Water, Bantam (New York, NY), 1999.
The Mother Tongue, Bantam (New York, NY), 2001.
Contributor of the short story "Both Feet" to the anthology Murder They Wrote II, edited by Beth Foxwell. Contributor and editor, with Toni P. Kelner, D.R. Meredith, Marlys Millhiser, Deborah Adams, Elizabeth Daniels Squire, and Charlaine Harris, to "The Femmes Fatales," a bi-annual newsletter.
SIDELIGHTS: Teri Holbrook's A Far and Deadly Cry is her first novel in a mystery series featuring Gale Grayson, an Atlanta native living in England. Grayson's husband, an accused terrorist, commits suicide, leaving her pregnant with their daughter. Three years later, when the babysitter is killed, the Scotland Yard inspector who had been investigating Grayson's husband investigates the babysitter's death. Grayson probes the facts behind the murder as she becomes suspect in connection with the crime. Marvin Lachman wrote for Armchair Detective that Holbrook handled well the "prickly relationship" which develops between Grayson and Inspector Halford "showing the shifting uncertainties of human interaction." Lachman went on to note: "Holbrook is also good at dialogue and displays a knack for presenting highly dramatic confrontations."
Holbrook's second novel in the series, The Grass Widow, takes place in Statlers Cross, Georgia. Gale Grayson, returned to her birthplace, is writing a book on southern women. She gets caught up in the legend of Linnie Cane, who, in 1925, hung herself from the pecan tree in her yard. When Linnie's minister grandson is murdered, Grayson delves into the family secrets that have haunted the town since Linnie's death. Shirley Gibson Coleman, writing in the Library Journal, called the book "well-written and fast-moving." A reviewer for Publishers Weekly commented on Holbrook's "stellar telling."
In the next book in the series, Sad Water, Grayson visits a village in Yorkshire, England, with pregnant photographer Nadianna Jesup. When Jesup sees a burned corpse in the nearby river, a follow-up search turns up nothing. As a result, no one, including Grayson, believes Jesup and assumes that it was just her imagination. Nevertheless, the local community has problems, including a number of strange occurrences that have taken place at the old mill, which Grayson wants to turn into an artist's studio. She finds that her effort is opposed by some of the townspeople. A Publishers Weekly contributor noted that the book "succeeds in … portraying the family bonds that drive the characters to acts of desperation." Writing on the Books and Movies Web site, Christina Gross commented that the mystery "draws its tension from the dynamics of a troubled community, from the relationships of the people belonging to it, from the mysterious atmosphere of the West Yorkshire landscape." In a review on the Mystery Reader Web site, Jeri Wright wrote: "I found myself caught fast by this complex, multi-layered mystery."
The Mother Tongue finds Grayson back in Statlers Cross, Georgia, living with her daughter Katie Pru. When a Vietnamese family moves into town, the locals are hostile and people begin to die, including one of the Vietnamese family's sons. Grayson takes in the family after their home is firebombed and sets out to solve the murders. Harriet Klausner, writing on the AllReaders.Com Web site, called the book "a harsh look at the prejudices and snobbery that is the cornerstone of some small towns." Books and Movies Web site contributor Gross noted: "Like in the first three installments of the series Teri Holbrook succeeds in portraying the very special atmosphere of her setting."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Heising, Willetta L., Detecting Women 2, Purple Moon Press (Dearborn, MI), 1996.
Armchair Detective, spring, 1996, Marvin Lachman, review of A Far and Deadly Cry, p. 174.
Library Journal, November 15, 1996, Shirley Gibson Coleman, review of The Grass Widow, p. 88.
Publishers Weekly, November 4, 1996, review of The Grass Widow, p. 70; August 16, 1999, review of Sad Water.
AllReaders.Com, http://www.allreaders.com/ (November 29, 2005), Harriet Klausner, review of The Mother Tongue.
Atlanta Chapter of Sisters in Crime, http://members.aol.com/atlsinc/ (November 29, 2005), profile of author.
Books and Movies, http://sites.inka.de/∼W1706/index alt.html/ (November 29, 2005), Christina Gross, review of Sad Water.
Mystery Reader, http://www.themysteryreader.com/ (November 29, 2005), Jeri Wright, review of Sad Water.
Writers Write, http://www.writerswrite.com/journal/dec97/yeatts.htm/ (February 5, 1999).