Thursday, November 23, 2017

Joan Hess: R.I.P.

Still staggering from this sad news. Joan Hess passed away at the age of 68. Joan Hess was the author of the Claire Malloy Mysteries and the Arly Hanks Mysteries, formally known as the Maggody Mysteries. She won the American Mystery Award, the Agatha Award, for which she had been nominated five times, and the Macavity Award. She was a member of Sisters in Crime and a former president of the American Crime Writers League. She contributed to multiple anthologies and book series, including Crosswinds, Deadly Allies, Malice Domestic, and The Year’s 25 Finest Crime and Mystery Stories. She also wrote the Theo Bloomer mystery series under the pseudonym Joan Hadley.

I was privileged to meet Joan many times at Malice Domestic, as well as Bouchercon and Left Coast Crime, but it was Malice where we really spent time. She held court in the lobby bar at many of the Malice Domestic conferences. Her wit, her candor, and her dry humor were unparalleled. Her books gave me many hours of enjoyment.

This past year Joan completed an unfinished manuscript of Elizabeth Peters. Based on extensive notes and conversations with Barbara Mertz (aka Elizabeth Peters), her devoted friend, Joan took on the task of completing the last edition of this cherished series. Joan delivered a story brimming with intrigue and humor, blending Victorian formality with a clever, tongue-in-cheek wit, true to Barbara’s style.

Read her August Mystery Fanfare post on Finishing The Painted Queen.

R.I.P., Joan Hess


10 comments:

Janis Patterson said...

Oh, dear Heaven! What terrible news. I knew her health had not been good lately, but had no idea ... What a terrible loss to those who love good mysteries. I never had the pleasure of meeting her personally - though I had hoped to someday - but have read and loved her mysteries for years. RIP, Joan. You are already missed.

joshpac said...

What terrible news. Joan was a dear friend. I'm so glad I got to give her one last hug at Malice. Janet, do you know where Priscilla Ridgeway is these days? She needs to be informed of this sad loss.



Deborah Romano said...

Oh, no! Too young! In addition to losing Joan, we've lost her entertaining characters.


RIP

Alice Duncan said...

This s such shocking, horrible news. Too young, indeed. So sorry :(

Johnna Smith said...

wonderful author who will be missed

Jacqueline Fiedler said...

I too remember Joan as a larger-than-life presence at all the Malice Domestic conferences I attended over the years. She, Dorothy Cannell, and Elizabeth Peters were hilarious together on panels. What sad news and another stunning loss to the mystery lovers community.

Karloffstein said...

I met Joan Hess at a mystery writer's conference at Penn State University sometime in the mid 80's. I was such a fan of the Maggody series and was in awe of her. Enjoyed her sense of humor, along with a good mystery. Such a loss.

Nancy L Gessner said...

What sad news. I have read her books and loved them for many years. I only wish that I could have met her in person.

Sharon Thrasher said...

So sad.. I loved her maggody series and those that followed. I am shocked as she was young. I will miss her writings.

Mary Jane Maffini said...

It is terrible news. I saw her this year at Malice when she was briefly signing the Elisabeth Peters book. She looked quite fragile, but still had her trademark humor. I first saw her in 1991 at Malice when she did indeed hold court. I loved all her books. A sad day in Maggotty and in her readers' hearts.

Hugs. MJ