Majerus, Janet 1936-

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Majerus, Janet 1936-

PERSONAL:

Born March 30, 1936, in IL; daughter of I.L. (a teacher) and Gertrude (a librarian) Brakensiek; married Philip W. Majerus (a college professor), December 28, 1957; children: Suzanne, David, Julie, Karen. Education: University of Illinois, B.S., 1958. Hobbies and other interests: Organic gardening, wilderness backpacking.

ADDRESSES:

Home—University City, MO. Agent—Barbara Braun Associates, Inc., 104 5th Ave., 7th Fl., New York, NY 10011.

CAREER:

Writer and editor. C.V. Mosby Co. (publishers), St. Louis, MO, book editor, 1958-60; freelance editor and writer, beginning 1960; then worked in government in University, MO, including on the Traffic Commission, Planning and Zoning Commission, City Council, and as mayor.

MEMBER:

Authors Guild of America.

WRITINGS:

Grandpa and Frank (novel), Lippincott (Philadelphia, PA), 1976.

The Best Laid Plans (novel), Five Star (Waterville, ME), 2006.

ADAPTATIONS:

Grandpa and Frank was adapted as a television movie titled Home to Stay, Columbia Broadcasting System, Inc. (CBS).

SIDELIGHTS:

Janet Majerus once told CA: "I am a product of small town, middle America. Even though I have lived in large metropolitan areas in the East (Boston and Washington), I find my writing keeps returning to the Midwest and, in particular, to the people who live in its small towns and rural areas."

Although Majerus's first novel, Grandpa and Frank, was enormously successful and ultimately made into a television movie in the 1970s, the author would eventually leave novel writing behind. "Then the drought hit and, except for a short story, I could not get anything else published," Majerus explained on her Home Page. The author eventually entered city government and politics only to return to novel writing more than two decades after her first book was published. In her 2006 mystery novel, The Best Laid Plans, the author features Jessie Schroeder, a children's-book author who goes back to her hometown after her divorce. She hires a local handyman named Willy Bachmann to work on her house and is soon involved in a mystery when Willy is accused of murdering a local woman. The mystery deepens when Willy is also found murdered. "Majerus's debut provides sympathetic characters, a touch of romance and a teasing mystery," wrote a Kirkus Reviews contributor. Barbara Bibel, writing in Booklist, noted the author's "crisp evocation of small-town life." Some reviewers also commented that the author's experience in small-town politics served her well. For example, Joseph Scarpato, Jr., writing on the Mystery Scene Web site, noted that the author "uses that experience to tell a realistic, fast-paced mystery with interesting and likeable characters and an unexpected conclusion."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, April 15, 1976, review of Grandpa and Frank, p. 1167; May 1, 2006, Barbara Bibel, review of The Best Laid Plans, p. 22.

Kirkus Reviews, March 1, 1976, review of Grandpa and Frank, p. 266; May 1, 2006, review of The Best Laid Plans, p. 44.

Kliatt, fall, 1977, review of Grandpa and Frank, p. 7.

New York Times Book Review, April 11, 1976, review of Grandpa and Frank, p. 36.

Publishers Weekly, February 9, 1976, review of Grandpa and Frank, p. 92.

School Library Journal, September, 1976, review of Grandpa and Frank, p. 144.

ONLINE

Harriet Klausner Web site,http://harrietklausner.wwwi.com/ (April 11, 2007), Harriet Klausner, review of The Best Laid Plans.

Janet Majerus Home Page,http://www.janetmajerus.com (April 11, 2007).

Mystery Scene,http://www.mysteryscenemag.com/ (April 11, 2007), Joseph Scarpato, Jr., review of The Best Laid Plans.