PERSONAL: Born in Richmond, VA; married; children: four daughters. Education: Holds B.A. degrees in English literature and journalism.
CAREER: Certified public accountant, real estate agent, and novelist.
Abilene Gamble (western historical novel), Berkley (New York, NY), 1995.
Dying to Sell (mystery novel), Five Star (Waterville, ME), 2005.
Knit One, Kill Two (mystery novel), Berkley Prime Crime (New York, NY), 2005.
Needled to Death (mystery novel), Berkley Prime Crime (New York, NY), 2005.
SIDELIGHTS: Mystery novelist Maggie Sefton noted on her home page that "if I were being completely honest, I'd have to admit that I always knew I was a born to be a writer. I spent my childhood with my nose in a book and loved writing." Still, as she grew older, the responsibilities of raising her family and continuing her education prevented her from expending effort on her interest in writing. Despite her diverted attention, however, the characters kept coming, and ideas for stories continued to form in her mind. Eventually, she noted, these characters demanded that she write their stories, and she delved into creating numerous historical stories and scenarios. She also focused her attention on what she called "my apprenticeship in the craft," consisting of actions such as attending writers' conferences, getting and giving critiques, and studying the markets. Sefton eventually realized that her stories always included a mystery and copious murder, an epiphany that prompted her to devote her writing efforts to the mystery genre.
Coinciding with a career change into real estate Sefton's debut novel combines mystery and real estate. Dying to Sell, revolves around recently divorced realtor Katie Doyle, who is charged with the painful task of selling the home of Mark and Amanda Shuster, two longtime friends struggling through a difficult divorce. While the divorce lawyers battle it out, Amanda uncovers more and more evidence that the philandering Mark is hiding the couple's assets. When Katie finds Mark stabbed to death in the couple's for-sale home, Amanda is immediately suspected as the murderer. Stonewalled by police detective Bill Levitz, who also happens to be her brother-in-law, Katie takes it upon herself to find the evidence to exonerate Amanda and locate Mark's killer. A Kirkus Reviews critic called the novel "a bustling, formulaic debut soothing as warm milk despite the casualties." Rex E. Klett, writing in Library Journal, called Katie a "believable and sympathetic" protagonist.
Knit One, Kill Two intertwines mystery and knitting when the aunt of CPA Kelly Flynn is murdered the day she cashes a very hefty mortgage check. The ladies of a local knitting group all knew and liked Kelly's aunt. When the Flynn family quilt comes up missing, the knitting ladies and Kelly are convinced that the police have arrested the wrong man. Aided by the knitting group and a retired police detective, Kelly begins needling out clues to the real murderer's identity. In his Library Journal review, Klett remarked that this first book in a projected series "exhibits all the trappings of an enticing cozy."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Kirkus Reviews, August 15, 2005, review of Dying to Sell, p. 887.
Library Journal, June 1, 2005, Rex E. Klett, review of Knit One, Kill Two, p. 107; October 1, 2005, Rex E. Klett, review of Dying to Sell, p. 62.
Maggie Sefton Home Page, http://www.maggiesefton.com (January 23, 2006).