Meredith, D(oris) R. 1944-
MEREDITH, D(oris) R. 1944-
PERSONAL: Born January 26, 1944, in Cushing, OK; daughter of Frank J. (a farmer) and Margaret (a homemaker; maiden name, Christy) Moser; married Michael D. Meredith (an attorney), August 27, 1965; children: Matthew Aaron, Megan Elizabeth. Education: University of Oklahoma, B.A., 1965; graduate study at University of North Texas, 1967, and West Texas State University, 1973. Politics: Republican. Religion: Baptist. Hobbies and other interests: Archaeology, western American history, early English history, criminal psychology, and old movies.
ADDRESSES: Home—6105 Shawnee Trail, Amarillo, TX 79109. Agent—Patricia Teal, 2036 Vista del Rosa, Fullerton, CA 92831-1336.
CAREER: Junior high school English teacher in Oklahoma City, OK, 1965-66; Dallas Public Library, Dallas, TX, librarian, 1966-69; First State Bank, Dumas, TX, bookkeeper, 1969; Sunset Elementary School, Dumas, librarian, 1970-75; Brands Books, Dumas, manager, 1980-86. Public lecturer and speaker at seminars.
MEMBER: Mystery Writers of America, Romance Writers of America, Western Writers of America, Romance Writers of the Panhandle, Panhandle Professional Writers (president).
AWARDS, HONORS: Oppie Award, Southwestern Booksellers' Association, 1984, for The Sheriff and the Panhandle Murders, and 1985, for The Sheriff and the Branding Iron Murders.
"charles matthews" mysteries
The Sheriff and the Panhandle Murders, Walker and Co. (New York, NY), 1984.
The Sheriff and the Branding Iron Murders, Walker and Co. (New York, NY), 1985.
The Sheriff and the Folsom Man Murders, Walker and Co. (New York, NY), 1987.
The Sheriff and the Pheasant Hunt Murders, Fawcett (New York, NY), 1993.
The Homefront Murders, Arrow (New York, NY), 1996.
"john lloyd branson" mysteries
Murder by Impulse, Ballantine (New York, NY), 1988.
Murder by Deception, Fawcett (New York, NY), 1989.
Murder by Masquerade, Fawcett (New York, NY), 1990.
Murder by Reference, Fawcett (New York, NY), 1991.
Murder by Sacrilege, Fawcett (New York, NY), 1993.
"megan clark" mysteries
Murder in Volume, Berkley Prime Crime (New York, NY), 2000.
By Hook or by Book, Berkley Prime Crime (New York, NY), 2000.
Murder Past Due, Berkley Prime Crime (New York, NY), 2001.
Private Eye, Number 4, Ivy Books (New York, NY), 1988.
A Woman's Place and Other Mysterious Tales, Five Star (Waterville, ME), 2001.
Editor of "The West in Print," a monthly column in Roundup.
SIDELIGHTS: Mystery author D. R. Meredith's first hero sleuth was Charles Matthews, a city-bred sheriff struggling to adjust to life in a small Texas Panhandle town. In his first case in The Sheriff and the Panhandle Murders, Matthews must uncover town secrets and interrogate some of the most prominent citizens to solve the first murder the town has seen in eighty years. Though she found the resolution somewhat predictable, School Library Journal reviewer Pat Royal commended the fast-paced plot and interesting characters and noted "the depiction of life in this small Texas town is rich in detail." Meredith has featured Charles Matthews in four other mysteries, including in The Homefront Murders, in which the discovery of the remains of a World War II GI once again puts Matthews at odds with some of the town's big shots.
In Murder by Impulse Meredith introduces John Lloyd Branson, an eccentric Texas lawyer, and his high-strung aide, Lydia Ann Fairchild. When Amy Steele, wife of millionaire Jim Steele, dies in a traffic pile-up, it looks like an accident. Then police find the remains of a sedative in Amy's coffee, and soon Branson and Fairchild are racing to expose the killer before another "accident" occurs. The more recent Murder by Sacrilege opens with a shocker when Reverend David Hailey puts the body of his young wife, dead from a blow to the head, in his nativity scene and dresses the corpse as the Virgin Mary. When Branson agrees to defend Hailey, he finds himself pitted against Cleetus "Maximum" Miller, Amarillo's most formidable prosecutor. As Rev. Hailey's Church of the Holy Light, and the late Mrs. Hailey's reputation, both get put under the glare of publicity, Meredith "effectively makes the courtroom a stage on which tragedy and farce play simultaneously," according to a Publishers Weekly reviewer.
Amateur sleuth Megan Clark makes her first appearance in Murder by Volume. Clark is a mystery fan who stumbles across a murder when she joins a reading group for fellow mystery lovers. With the help of the group members, Clark draws on the experiences of the great fictional sleuths to solve real-world crimes. As Booklist reviewer David Pitt explained, "These are serious novels with a light touch, tailor-made for those interested in inside information about the mystery genre."
Meredith once told CA: "I was born in Cushing, Oklahoma, the last of six children and the only girl. After raising five boys, my mother was never quite sure what constituted appropriate behavior for a little girl. Consequently, I grew up playing Tarzan in the black walnut tree behind the garage and reading about Tom Sawyer, Huck Finn, and Tom Swift. I played with dolls and trains and wondered why the grown-ups thought a book about a little girl who liked smelly goats was so good. I still wonder.
"After seven years of college, three universities, and thirty hours of graduate study, I decided there was nothing I wanted to do that required another degree, writing being one of the few professions left in which you learn by doing. I write mysteries because they are the last form of a morality tale. Also, the mystery has a beginning, a middle, and an end, rather than being the bloated, shapeless, modern novel, which too often rambles in all directions with no destination in mind."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Pronzini, Bill, and Marcia Mullen, editors, One Thousand and One Midnights, Walker and Co., 1986.
Booklist, May 15, 2000, David Pitt, review of By Hook or by Book, p. 1733.
Library Journal, September 1, 1985, Sister Avila, review of The Sheriff and the Branding Iron Murders, p. 213.
Publishers Weekly, November 1, 1993, review of Murder by Sacrilege, p. 72.
School Library Journal, December, 1984, Pat Royal, review of The Sheriff and the Panhandle Murders, p. 104.
Texas Monthly, October, 1986, "Partners in Crime."
CowboyDirectory.com, http://www.cowboydirectory.com/ (May 17, 2004), profile of Doris R. Meredith.*