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Roach, Marion 1956–

Roach, Marion 1956–

PERSONAL: Born April 7, 1956, in Queens, NY; daughter of James Pilkington (a sportswriter) and Allene (a teacher; maiden name, Zillmann) Roach. Education: St. Lawrence University, B.A. (cum laude), 1977.

ADDRESSES: Agent—c/o Kris Dahl, International Creative Management, 40 W. 57th St., New York, NY 10019.

CAREER: New York Times, New York, NY, copy person, 1977–78, news clerk, 1978–80, news assistant, 1980–83; National Public Radio, All Things Considered commentator; Arts Center of the Capital Region, Troy, NY, writing instructor; member of board of directors of Alzheimer's Resource Center.

WRITINGS:

Another Name for Madness (memoir), Houghton Mifflin (Boston, MA), 1985.

(With Michael M. Baden) Dead Reckoning: The New Science of Catching Killers, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 2001.

Roots of Desire: The Myth, Meaning, and Sexual Power of Red Hair, Bloomsbury (New York, NY), 2005.

Also writer of screenplay Copy, Columbia Pictures; contributor to The New York Times Book of Women's Health, 2000; contributor to periodicals, including American Health, Discover, Good Housekeeping, Vogue, Newsday, Prevention, and the New York Times; writer of "Mother's Day," a Sunday column in the New York Daily News.

SIDELIGHTS: In Marion Roach's first book, Another Name for Madness, she relives the decline of her talented and relatively young mother, Allene, from Alzheimer's disease, and the impact it had on Roach and the rest of the family before Allene was finally placed in a nursing home. Roach told CA that "in January, 1983, I published a piece in the New York Times Sunday magazine about Alzheimer's disease. My mother, at forty-nine years of age, had begun exhibiting symptoms and at fifty-one had been diagnosed as a victim of Alzheimer's. Two days following the publication of this first-person piece, I received five hundred letters. I got more than one thousand phone calls. It occurred to me that people wanted to know more."

Roach collaborated with Michael Baden, a former New York City chief medical examiner, in writing Dead Reckoning: The New Science of Catching Killers. It is a study of forensic science in which the authors emphasize the importance of impartiality in criminal investigations and the use of experiments, including simulating blood spatter to determine the cause of death. They deal with how autopsies are performed, how insect activity can indicate time of death, and how DNA and facial reconstruction help determine the facts surrounding a death. A Publishers Weekly reviewer wrote that Roach and Baden delve "into delightfully creepy material that can potentially bring murderers to justice or free an innocent on death row."

Roach, a redhead herself, is the author of Roots of Desire: The Myth, Meaning, and Sexual Power of Red Hair, in which she writes that red hair has often been viewed with suspicion and linked with witchcraft, eroticism, and evil. She notes that biblical redheads include Lilith, Mary Magdalene, and Judas. Roach writes of her own genetic testing in Edinburgh, where red hair is fairly common, as well as a visit to a coven in Vermont. A Kirkus Reviews critic concluded that "depicting a woman as a redhead, it seems is now a convenient shorthand way of saying that she's someone to be reckoned with."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

BOOKS

Roach, Marion, Another Name for Madness, Houghton Mifflin (Boston, MA), 1985.

PERIODICALS

Booklist, September 1, 2001, Gilbert Taylor, review of Dead Reckoning: The New Science of Catching Killers, p. 20.

Kirkus Reviews, May 1, 2005, review of The Roots of Desire: The Myth, Meaning, and Sexual Power of Red Hair, p. 528.

Library Journal, August, 2001, Karen Evans, review of Dead Reckoning, p. 134; July 1, 2005, Janet Sassi, review of The Roots of Desire, p. 103.

New York Times Book Review, August 18, 1985, Matt Clark, review of Another Name for Madness, p. 10.

People, August 22, 2005, review of The Roots of Desire, p. 51.

Psychology Today, October, 1985, Robin Marantz Henig, review of Another Name for Madness, p. 79.

Publishers Weekly, July 23, 2001, review of Dead Reckoning, p. 59; April 25, 2005, review of The Roots of Desire, p. 45.

School Library Journal, December, 2001, Carol DeAngelo, review of Dead Reckoning, p. 175.

Student BMJ, April, 2002, Sally-Ann S. Price, review of Dead Reckoning, p. 127.

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