Meier, Leslie 1948-
Meier, Leslie 1948-
Born June 9, 1948, in Bronx, NY; daughter of James (a telephone company worker) and Edith (a homemaker) Strauss; married Greg Meier (a building materials executive), June 20, 1974; children: Matthew, Andrew, Emily. Ethnicity: "White." Education: William Smith College, B.A., 1970; Bridgewater State College, teaching certificate, 1988. Religion: Protestant.
Home—North Harwich, MA. Agent—Margaret Ruley, Jane Rotrosen Agency, 318 East 51st St., New York, NY 10022.
Cape Cod Newspapers, Yarmouth, MA, reporter, 1990-92; Community Newspapers, Orleans, MA, reporter, 1994-97; Cape Cod Times, Hyannis, MA, copy editor, 1997—. Cape Cod Writer's Center, member of board of directors, 1990.
Sisters in Crime.
"LUCY STONE" SERIES; MYSTERY NOVELS
Mail-Order Murder, Viking (New York, NY), 1991.
Tippy-Toe Murder, Viking (New York, NY), 1994.
Trick or Treat Murder, Kensington (New York, NY), 1996.
Back to School Murder, Kensington (New York, NY), 1997.
Christmas Cookie Murder, Kensington (New York, NY), 1999.
Valentine Murder, Kensington (New York, NY), 1999.
Turkey Day Murder, Kensington (New York, NY), 2000.
Wedding Day Murder, Kensington (New York, NY), 2001.
Birthday Party Murder, Kensington (New York, NY), 2002.
Father's Day Murder, Kensington (New York, NY), 2003.
Star Spangled Murder, Kensington (New York, NY), 2004.
New Year's Eve Murder, Kensington (New York, NY), 2005.
Bake Sale Murder, Kensington (New York, NY), 2006.
Leslie Meier is the author of the "Lucy Stone" series of mystery novels. Stone, a mother of four in small-town Tinker's Cover, ME, is a newspaper reporter and an amateur sleuth. Most of the books center around a theme connected to a holiday, such as Halloween or Christmas, or a significant event, such as a birthday party or Father's Day.
In the first book of the series, Mail-Order Murder, Lucy works at Country Cousins, a prosperous mail-order house in Maine. She is shocked to one day discover her rich, popular boss, Sam Miller III, dead in his car in the company parking lot. At first Miller's death appears to be a suicide, but the police soon realize that he was murdered. Numerous suspects, including Miller's wife, are considered but cleared of the murder. Lucy offers to help police officer Barney Culpepper ferret out the killer. The discovery of another murder, and Culpepper's involvement in a serious automobile accident, convince the duo that they are on the right track. With their quarry still active, they hatch an even more daring plan to catch the killer in the act of committing another murder. A Publishers Weekly reviewer noted that the novel "does feature some nice plot twists," and that the story "deserves some credit for an interesting cast of characters."
Tippy-Toe Murder finds the pregnant Lucy on the trail of a missing neighbor, the seventy-year-old Caroline Hutton, ballet instructor and mentor to ballet teacher Tatiana. The police believe that Hutton has simply left on a vacation without telling anyone, but Lucy and Tatiana still feel uneasy about the woman's fate. Family and professional obligations keep Lucy and Tatiana from looking into the case further. Later, Lucy helps her friend Franny with the loan of a video camera, which she will use to document events at the hardware store where she works and where she has been wrongly accused of stealing. When the store owner discovers the camera, he immediately fires Franny. Lucy's attempt to recover her property results in her discovering the hardware store owner's body, beaten to death with the camera. Franny is arrested for murder, but Lucy realizes a connection between the missing Hutton and the slain merchant that will clear Franny and solve both cases. A reviewer in Publishers Weekly called the novel a "quirky, low-key puzzle, which is packed with the details of small-town, family life."
A bombing at the local elementary school spurs Lucy to action in Back to School Murder. When the bomb threat is reported, she immediately heads to the school to ensure her children's safety. While there, she sees the well-loved assistant principal, Carol Crane, rescue a disabled child moments before the bomb goes off. However, Lucy soon discovers that the outwardly good-natured Crane is not what she she portrays herself to be. The police make little headway in the case. Unexpectedly, Crane is found dead in her apartment, the victim of murder. The high school chemistry teacher is arrested in the case, and Lucy assumes her role as journalist and sleuth to find out what she can about the tragic situation. Soon, she learns that Crane was in league with a fundamentalist school board member to have the chemistry teacher fired. Worse, Crane had believed the chemistry teacher was the one who set off the bomb. The disbelieving Lucy cannot accept that the teacher was responsible for the bombing, and she sets out to uncover the identity of the real bomber and the murderer of Carol Crane.
Civic-minded but overextended Lucy joins the local library board in Valentine Murder. Before her first meeting, however, Lucy finds unpopular children's librarian Bitsy Howell dead of a gunshot wound in the library workroom. Since only board members had access to the library at the time of the killing, Lucy and two other members immediately become suspects. The police discourage her from investigating the case, but she still works to find out what she can about the other board members. Each one, she finds, was living with a secret that could lead to murder. Complicating matters is the fact that the library's prize possession, an antique tankard, was recently determined to be fake. Suspicion falls on antique dealer Hayden Northcross as the thief, since he had recently been asked to appraise the drinking vessel. Hayden's death by apparent suicide suggests to the police that he had killed Bitsy to conceal his theft of the tankard, but Lucy is not convinced. Threats and assaults against her family convince her that she must speed up her investigation and catch the real killer before those most important to her come to harm. Booklist reviewer John Rowen commented favorably on the novel's "strong opening, light humor, vivid Maine landscapes, and a cast of generally sympathetic characters." A Publishers Weekly writer noted that "inclusion of the domestic details attendant to Lucy's small, close-knit community add charm to this otherwise routine, if lighthearted, cozy."
Wedding Day Murder finds an ostensibly happy event, the upcoming wedding of Lucy's friend Sue's daughter to Ron Davitz, a dot-com millionaire, becoming the springboard for murder. Lucy agrees to let the wedding take place in a spectacular gazebo built by her husband, talented carpenter Bill. When the groom shows up, however, he is found to be an ugly, boorish, selfish man, a stereotypical computer nerd with few redeeming qualities outside of his money. Worse, his pushy mother has arrived to seize control of the wedding from the hapless Sue. When Davitz is murdered by being knocked unconscious and thrown off the family yacht, not many people are upset. However, Lucy must make sure to prove that none of her friends or family had anything to do with the killing. Meier "takes well-worn plot elements … and buffs them into a fresh yarn," commented John Rowen in Booklist.
Meier told CA: "My primary motivation for writing is to entertain myself and others. From the day I first discovered Nancy Drew mysteries, I have always loved reading mysteries. It was inevitable that I would one day try my hand at writing one.
"My work is particularly influenced by my role as a wife and mother, whose primary responsibility for many years was keeping house, including a large garden and a flock of chickens. My transition to the working world as a small-town newspaper reporter gave me insight into local politics—and many ideas for my books.
"My writing process has evolved over the years. At first, I tried to write in my spare time. Since I didn't have all that much free time, the books were very hurried and rushed. Now, I schedule my writing and try to work on my fiction three days a week. I begin with an outline, from which I write a first draft. I try to revise the book three or four times before I consider it finished. In all, it usually takes me about a year to write a Lucy Stone mystery."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, January 1, 1999, John Rowen, review of Valentine Murder, p. 838; October 1, 2001, John Rowen, review of Wedding Day Murder, p. 302.
Kirkus Reviews, August 15, 2001, review of Wedding Day Murder, p. 1170; July 1, 2002, review of Birthday Party Murder, p. 921; September 1, 2006, review of Bake Sale Murder, p. 879.
Library Journal, February 1, 1999, Rex E. Klett, review of Valentine Murder, p. 125; August, 2000, Lora Bruggeman, Sheila Guenzer, Lynn McCullagh, Sue O'Brien, and Marianne Trautvetter, review of Christmas Cookie Murder, p. 192; September 1, 2000, Rex E. Klett, review of Turkey Day Murder, p. 255; June 1, 2003, Rex E. Klett, review of Father's Day Murder, p. 172; June 1, 2004, Rex E. Klett, review of Star Spangled Murder, p. 108.
Publishers Weekly, October 4, 1991, review of Mail-Order Murder, p. 81; January 24, 1994, review of Tippy-Toe Murder, p. 43; August 19, 1996, review of Trick or Treat Murder, p. 56; September 15, 1997, review of Back to School Murder, p. 56; January 25, 1999, review of Valentine Murder, p. 76; August 21, 2000, review of Turkey Day Murder, p. 52; October 15, 2001, review of Wedding Day Murder, p. 49; May 3, 2004, "June Publications," review of Star Spangled Murder, p. 175; September 19, 2005, review of New Year's Eve Murder, p. 46; September 11, 2006, review of Bake Sale Murder, p. 37.
Armchair Interviews,http://www.armchairinterviews.com/ (March 10, 2007), Dawn Dowdle, review of New Year's Eve Murder.
BookLoons,http://www.bookloons.com/ (March 10, 2007), Mary Ann Smyth, review of Wedding Day Murder; Mary Ann Smyth, review of Father's Day Murder.
Mystery Reader,http://www.themysteryreader.com/ (March 10, 2007), Kay Black, review of Valentine Murder; Cathy Sova, review of Back to School Murder.
Reviewingtheevidence.com,http://www.reviewingtheevidence.com/ (March 10, 2007), Lane Wright, review of Christmas Cookie Murder.