Carolyn Hart

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Carolyn Hart (also known as Carolyn G. Hart) is an American mystery author who specializes in traditional mysteries, also known as cozy mysteries. She was born in Oklahoma in 1936. [1]



Hart was born Carolyn Gimpel and was raised in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, where she still lives. She attended Cleveland Elementary School, Taft Junior High School, and Classen High School. [2] At the age of 11, Hart decided that she wanted to be a newspaper reporter. She worked on school papers beginning in grade school, continuing all the way through her college years. [3]

Hart is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of Oklahoma (class of 1958), [4] where she majored in journalism. Hart met her husband Philip while traveling in Europe during her junior year in college. [5] After graduation while her husband attended law school, Hart worked as a newspaper reporter for The Norman Transcript. She gave up journalism after the birth of her son, Philip Jr. [6]

In 1964, the year her daughter Sarah was born, Hart won a writing contest calling for a mystery novel that would appeal to adolescent girls, sponsored by Dodd, Mead and Calling All Girls. She went on to write several more young adult mysteries between 1965 and 1972. From 1972 to 1987, she wrote nine stand-alone suspense novels and mysteries, which had only modest success. Until the publication of mystery novels by Marcia Muller, Sara Paretsky, and Sue Grafton, publishers had little interest in mysteries written by contemporary American female writers; [3] the success of these authors, however, opened the door for Hart's Death on Demand (1987), which became the first in a long-running series of the same name. [7]

Hart's stand-alone World War II novel Letter from Home was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction by the Oklahoma Center for Poets and Writers at Oklahoma State University–Tulsa. She has twice appeared as one of the featured mystery authors at the Library of Congress National Book Festival in Washington, D.C. [8]


Hart has won awards throughout her four-decade writing career.


Death on Demand series

Hart's first commercially successful adult mystery series features Annie Laurance, proprietor of the Death on Demand bookstore, located in the fictional South Carolina island community of Broward's Rock. [12] By using a mystery bookstore for her background, Hart has given her characters the opportunity to talk freely about other mystery authors and books. One of the ongoing themes of the series is a contest whereby the first customer who correctly identifies a series of five mysteries from the clues in a painting hanging in the shop wins his or her choice of a novel. [3]

  1. Death on Demand (1987) also in Something Wicked
  2. Design for Murder (1988)
  3. Something Wicked (1988)
  4. Honeymoon with Murder (1988)
  5. A Little Class on Murder (1989)
  6. Deadly Valentine (1990)
  7. The Christie Caper (1991)
  8. Southern Ghost (1992)
  9. Mint Julep Murder (1995)
  10. Yankee Doodle Dead (1998)
  11. White Elephant Dead (1999)
  12. Sugarplum Dead (2000)
  13. April Fool Dead (2002)
  14. Engaged to Die (2003)
  15. Murder Walks the Plank (2004)
  16. Death of the Party (2005)
  17. Dead Days of Summer (2006)
  18. Death Walked In (2008)
  19. Dare to Die (2009)
  20. Laughed 'Til He Died (2010)
  21. Dead by Midnight (2011)
  22. Death Comes Silently (2012)
  23. Dead, White and Blue (2013)
  24. Death at the Door (2014)
  25. Don't Go Home (2015)
  26. Walking on My Grave (2017)

Henrie O series

Hart's Henrie O mysteries feature 70-something retired newswoman, Henrie O'Dwyer Collins, as she travels the country and the world, solving crimes that seem to follow her as she travels. Henrie gets by on her grit, tenacity, and sensible shoes. [3]

  1. Dead Man's Island (1993), turned into a 1996 TV movie starring Barbara Eden and William Shatner
  2. Scandal in Fair Haven (1994)
  3. Death in Lovers' Lane (1997)
  4. Death in Paradise (1998)
  5. Death on the River Walk (1999)
  6. Resort to Murder (2001)
  7. Set Sail for Murder (2007)

Bailey Ruth Raeburn series

Hart's newest protagonist, the ghost of a woman killed at sea who returns to earth via the "Rescue Express" to help her fictional hometown of Adelaide, Oklahoma while trying not to violate the Precepts for Earthly Visitation and adjusting to her powers on earth.

  1. Ghost at Work (2008)
  2. Merry, Merry Ghost (2009)
  3. Ghost In Trouble (2010)
  4. Ghost Gone Wild (2013)
  5. Ghost Wanted (2014)
  6. Ghost to the Rescue (2015)
  7. Ghost Times Two (2016)
  8. Ghost on the Case (2017)
  9. Ghost Ups Her Game (2020) published by SEVERN House Great Britain and USA

Non-series books


  • The Secret of the Cellars (1998, ebook 2013)


  • Dangerous Summer (1968, ebook 2013)
  • No Easy Answers (1970, reprint 2013)
  • Rendezvous in Veracruz (1972, reprint 2012)
  • Danger, High Explosives! (1972, ebook 2013)


  • Flee from the Past (1975, reprint 1998, reprint 2012)
  • A Settling of Accounts (1976, reprint 2013) also in Secrets and Other Stories of Suspense
  • Escape from Paris (1982, reprint 2013)
  • The Rich Die Young (1983, reprint 2001)
  • Death by Surprise (1983, reprint 2013)
  • Skulduggery (1984, reprint 2012)
  • The Devereaux Legacy (1986, reprint 2013)
  • Brave Hearts (1987, reprint 2013)
  • Letter from Home (2003)
  • What the Cat Saw (2012)
  • Cry in the Night (2013)
  • Castle Rock (1983, reprint 2014)
  • Cliff's Edge (2014)
  • High Stakes (November 2015)
  • Peril Off Padre (2018) e-book only


Collection or AnthologyContentsPublication


Crimes of the HeartRiding High1995edited anthology
Crime on her Mind1999

2013 ebook

Love & Death2001edited anthology
Something WickedDeath on Demand2004
Malice Domestic Volume 42007
Secrets and Other Stories of SuspenseSpooked



A Settling of Accounts

Motherhood is MurderMothers must do2009

Non-fiction books

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  1. Great Women Mystery Writers, 2nd Ed. by Elizabeth Blakesley Lindsay, 2007, publ. Greenwood Press, ISBN   0-313-33428-5
  2. "Carolyn Hart: News: HarperCollins Publishers". Archived from the original on 2011-06-29. Retrieved 2012-01-30.
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  4. Wall, Judith (Winter 2007). "Hart of the Mystery". Sooner Magazine. pp. 9–13.
  5. "Carolyn Hart". Carolyn Hart. Archived from the original on 2012-02-06. Retrieved 2012-01-30.
  6. "Carolyn Hart". Carolyn Hart. Retrieved 2012-01-30.
  7. Mystery Guide Interview with Carolyn Hart Archived February 8, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  8. "Library of Congress's website". 2004-03-11. Retrieved 2012-01-30.
  9. Carolyn Hart Carolyn G. Hart [1936–]. "Carolyn Hart". Retrieved 2012-01-30.
  10. "Carolyn Hart". Carolyn Hart. 2006-04-24. Archived from the original on 2012-02-22. Retrieved 2012-01-30.
  11. "History". Sisters in Crime. Archived from the original on August 25, 2012. Retrieved July 5, 2014.
  12. "Carolyn Hart". Carolyn Hart. Archived from the original on 2012-01-12. Retrieved 2012-01-30.