Morgan, Mary 1931–
Morgan, Mary 1931–
PERSONAL: Born 1931, in United Kingdom; married; children: three.
CAREER: Writer and nurse. Served as a journalist, novelist, short story writer and monthly columnist. Also worked as an operating room nurse and midwife.
Willful Neglect, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1997.
The House at the Edge of the Jungle, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1999.
Deeper Waters, Thomas Dunne Books (New York, NY), 2002.
The Sound of Her Name, Thomas Dunne Books (New York, NY), 2005.
Author of a number of short stories and articles for a variety of publications, including the Ladies' Home Journal, Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.
SIDELIGHTS: British-born author Mary Morgan started her career as a nurse and a midwife; it wasn't until she and her family moved to Seattle, Washington, that she began to pursue writing as a profession. Morgan started out writing professionally by selling short stories to general-interest publications including the Ladies' Home Journal and the Seattle Post Intelligencer as well as to mystery journals like Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine. It was this interest in writing mystery fiction that eventually led to Morgan's success as a novelist of mysteries.
In 1997, Morgan published her first novel, Willful Neglect. The story's main character is Noah Richards, a small-town lawyer who finds himself involved with a possible case of neglect when a young African-American boy mysteriously dies at the community hospital. The boy's family suspects that it was a matter of racism by the hospital's staff. Critics found Willful Neglect to be a strong and well-written novel overall. Many enjoyed the author's exploration of the psyches of her characters, and admired the intelligent and riveting development of the story line. Morgan's novel contains "sturdy prose," wrote Rex E. Klett in a review for the Library Journal. Other reviewers thought Morgan's novel would be an appealing addition to other literature of this genre. Willful Neglect is a "riveting read for fans of medical/legal mysteries," observed Booklist contributor William Beatty.
Morgan's second novel, 1999's The House at the Edge of the Jungle, focuses on brother and sister Isabel and Victor, who were evacuated from Malaya as young children before the Japanese invaded the country. In the process, the two were separated from their father and stepmother and grew up without knowing what happened to them. As an adult, Isabel convinces Victor to go back to Kuala Lumpur with her, where she hopes to uncover the mysterious disappearance of their family members.
Like Morgan's first novel, The House at the Edge of the Jungle was also met with positive reviews upon its release. For many critics, this was again a successful demonstration of the author's talents at developing a suspenseful and interesting story. The novel contains a "well-written, deftly structured story of cryptic family ties," wrote a Publishers Weekly contributor. For others, the novel's exotic setting and detailed descriptions of a different culture contributed to the book's appeal. The House at the Edge of the Jungle "will appeal to readers who enjoy foreign travel," noted Toni Hyde in a review for Booklist.
In 2002, Morgan published her third novel, Deeper Waters. This book returns to the story of Noah Richards, the main character of the author's first novel. Here Noah has moved to a rental house on the ocean outside of Seattle, in an area Noah discovers is embroiled in a land-rights battle between developers and a local Indian tribe. Soon the murder of Quanda law student Jay Bishop near Noah's house cements Noah's involvement in solving the mystery of Jay's death and discovering the real story behind the land battle. Readers enjoyed Morgan's return to the character of Noah Richards, finding him to be an interesting and deeply developed protagonist. Deeper Waters continues the story of a "likable and believable hero," observed a Kirkus Reviews contributor. Critics also admired the book overall, finding the story line intriguing and complex, and clever in its use of the remote and alluring backdrop of Edward's Bay. Morgan's novel "deals with important themes in a beautiful setting," wrote Barbara Bibel in a review for Booklist.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, June 1, 1997, William Beatty, review of Willful Neglect, p. 1667; January 1, 1999, Toni Hyde, review of The House at the Edge of the Jungle, p. 833; May 15, 2002, Barbara Bibel, review of Deeper Waters, p. 1579.
Kirkus Reviews, April 15, 2002, review of Deeper Waters, p. 530; April 1, 2005, review of The Sound of Her Name, p. 379.
Library Journal, July 1997, Rex E. Klett, review of Willful Neglect, p. 131.
Publishers Weekly, August 11, 1997, review of Willful Neglect, p. 389; January 11, 1999, review of The House at the Edge of the Jungle, p. 58.
Mary Morgan Home Page, http://www.marymorgan.net (January 19, 2006).