Tallman, Shirley (Erin Ross)

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Tallman, Shirley (Erin Ross)


Born in Los Angeles, CA; married; children. Education: Earned a B.A.


Home—Eugene, OR. E-mail—[email protected]


Novelist and screenwriter. KNTV, San Jose, CA, traffic manager, scriptwriter, and director. Previously taught guitar, and played and sang with a rock group.


Novelists Inc., Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, Historical Novel Society, Pacific Northwest Booksellers' Association, Willamette Valley Writers, Oregon Writer's Colony.


Romantic Times nominations for Best Desire Novel of the Year.


(With Nancy Hersage) Please Stand By—Your Mother's Missing, Libra Publishers (New York, NY), 1980.

(With Nancy Hersage) The Babysitter's Seduction (television movie), National Broadcasting Corporation (NBC), 1996.

Also coauthor, with Nancy Hersage, of The Kindness of Strangers, American Broadcasting Company (ABC), Prairie Flower, Columbia Broadcasting Service (CBS), and the novels The War Magician and Lili.


Second Harvest, Silhouette (Buffalo, NY), 1982.

Flower of the Orient, Silhouette (Buffalo, NY), 1983.

Time for Tomorrow, Silhouette (Buffalo, NY), 1983.

Fragrant Harbor, Silhouette (Buffalo, NY), 1984.

Tide's End, Silhouette (Buffalo, NY), 1984.

Odds Against, Silhouette (Buffalo, NY), 1984.

Child of My Heart, Silhouette (Buffalo, NY), 1984.

Roses for Remembering, Silhouette (Buffalo, NY), 1985.

Willing Spirit, Silhouette (Buffalo, NY), 1986.

Carnival Madness, Silhouette (Buffalo, NY), 1987.


Murder on Nob Hill, St. Martin's (New York, NY), 2004.

The Russian Hill Murders, St. Martin's Minotaur (New York, NY), 2005.

The Cliff House Strangler, St. Martin's Minotaur (New York, NY), 2007.


The War Magician was optioned by Paramount; Lili was filmed by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.


Writer Shirley Tallman began her career as a syndicated columnist and as a writer for radio and television in San Jose, California. Since then, she has been a romance novelist, a screenwriter, and—most recently—a mystery novelist. Her romances, most written under the pseudonym Erin Ross, achieved best seller status and won nominations for the Romantic Times Best Desire Novel of the Year. In addition, her screenplay The Babysitter's Seduction, cowritten with Nancy Hersage and starring Keri Russell and Phylicia Rashad, was produced for National Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) as a television film in 1996.

Tallman's first mystery novel, Murder on Nob Hill, appeared in 2004. It tells the story of a nineteenth-century female lawyer in San Francisco and the way she deals with a series of killings in which the victims are gruesomely mutilated. Sarah Woolson's first client in her new job at the prestigious law firm of Shepherd, Shepherd, McNaughton, and Hall is a wealthy widow accused of stabbing her abusive husband fatally in the genitalia. Although the widow turns out to have an actor lover, Woolson is convinced that her client is innocent—in part because she knows the shady way in which her late husband made his fortune and because several of his former partners in a swindle he perpetrated at the Comstock Load are killed in the same grisly manner. In the process of exonerating her client, Woolson has to contend with her colleagues' sexist attitudes, as well as locating and defeating the murderer. GraceAnne A. DeCandido, writing for Booklist, called the novel a "promising if melodramatic debut," and a Kirkus Reviews contributor concluded that the "lively details of a lively time and place spice up a typically feisty heroine's struggles against sexism."

Tallman continues her mystery series with The Russian Hill Murders, which was released in 2005 to immediate popularity, with its first hardcover printing selling out in just seven weeks. In this adventure, Sarah attends a fundraising dinner party at which the hostess is poisoned. This event is swiftly followed by the deaths of a number of other individuals, also by poison, and the common link between the victims is a local charity hospital. At the same time, a wealthy shipping magnate, Pierce Godfrey, asks Sarah to handle some shipping contracts for him. Although grateful for the opportunity, Sarah questions why such a powerful man would want a novice lawyer to handle his business. These, as well as a third case, weave together into a suspenseful, intriguing novel. DeCandido, in another review for Booklist, observed that "Woolson's role as a protofeminist in the nineteenth century is a sympathetic one." A reviewer for Publishers Weekly found the book "a superior example of its subgenre."

The Cliff House Strangler is the next offering in Tallman's Sarah Woolson series. In this book, Sarah attends a séance with friend and fellow lawyer Robert Campbell as a favor for her brother, who, unbeknownst to his family, is a reporter. The event boasts several public figures in attendance, including a state senator, but it is another reporter, Darien Moss, who ends up strangled by the end of the evening, leaving the police with a number of suspects. A contributor for Kirkus Reviews remarked that "Tallman's intelligent heroine … is a delight." Reviewing this installment, Booklist contributor Barbara Bibel called Tallman's efforts "a fine historical series with a strong female sleuth who stands up for herself."



Booklist, May 1, 2004, GraceAnne A. DeCandido, review of Murder on Nob Hill, p. 1524; May 1, 2005, GraceAnne A. DeCandido, review of The Russian Hill Murders, p. 1537; June 1, 2007, Barbara Bibel, review of The Cliff House Strangler, p. 43.

Kirkus Reviews, April 1, 2004, review of Murder on Nob Hill, p. 304; May 1, 2007, review of The Cliff House Strangler.

Library Journal, May 1, 2004, Rex E. Klett, review of Murder on Nob Hill, p. 143.

Publishers Weekly, June 13, 2005, review of The Russian Hill Murders, p. 36.


Shirley Tallman's Home Page,http://www.shirleytallman.com (January 17, 2008).

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