KELLERMAN, FAYE (1952– ), U.S. mystery writer. Born in St. Louis, Mo., Kellerman grew up in Los Angeles. She earned a bachelor's degree in mathematics and a D.D.S., both from the University of California at Los Angeles. She never practiced dentistry, however, and was a full-time mother of four before publishing her first novel, The Ritual Bath (1986), in which she introduced a series with a Los Angeles police officer, Sgt. Peter Decker, and Rina Lazarus. In the book, Decker is called to investigate a rape charge in an isolated Orthodox Jewish community. Lazarus, a young widow who found the victim, guides Decker through her suspicious community as all the signs point to the rapist's first crime not being his last. Kellerman's writing frequently deals with Jewish themes and characters, incorporating them into the framework of the traditional mystery. Her debut novel won the 1987 Macavity Award for best first mystery. Since then, she has published more than 15 mysteries, with titles like Milk and Honey, Day of Atonement, False Prophet, Grievous Sin, Sanctuary, Prayers for the Dead, and The Stone Kiss. Kellerman is a practicing Orthodox Jew, as is her husband, the novelist Jonathan *Kellerman. They are believed to be the only married couple ever to appear on the New York Times bestseller list simultaneously (for two different books). "Religion is a major factor in my life," Faye Kellerman said in an interview in 1999. "I consider myself a modern Orthodox Jewish woman with attachments to my synagogue, my children's religious school, and the community at large." In another interview, she explained: "The religion in the books comes from personal experience. I have a great deal of love for my religion. I felt that maybe I could transmit some of that feeling and emotion. Also, I felt that people would enjoy learning about the rites and rituals of Orthodox Jewry the same way I enjoy learning about other cultures and religions."
[Stewart Kampel (2nd ed.)]
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