Monday, December 2, 2019


Such sad news. Willetta Heising, mystery historian, list maker, and fan, passed away last April. Alas, I just learned of this. I always enjoyed chatting with Willetta at Malice, at Left Coast Crime, and at Bouchercon..but it's been many years. The information on her passing is scant, but the legacy she leaves to the mystery community is great. I am a list maker, so I've appreciated all her work on mystery author series lists. R.I.P., Willetta.

From the Querfeld Funeral Home site. I've added a bit.

On April 25, 2019, Willetta Louise Heising died at home in Dearborn,  Michigan. She was born in Coronado, CA on October 4, 1947 to the late Rev. Willetta B. Heising and late Capt. Kenneth W. Heising (USN, Ret.). She is survived by four siblings, Ken (Theresa) Heising, Jr of Fairfax Station, VA, Evelyn (Tom) Ford of Appomattox, VA, Ellen (David) Barlow of Charlottesville, VA and John (Jessica) Heising of Richmond, VA, nine nieces and nephews, five great nieces and nephews, an aunt Jewel Wagner of Kirkwood, MO, and twelve cousins.
Growing up in a Navy family, Willetta attended school in six states, Norway, and France. She earned her BA degree in geography and sociology from Valparaiso University and attended graduate school at Wayne State University. Willetta held jobs in the business world for a total of twenty years as a city planner for Detroit; site location analyst for Chatham Supermarkets; and facilities planning, market research and product management for National Bank of Detroit. 

Then following her love of reading, she became the author and publisher of reader’s guides  to mystery fiction, nominated for the Edgar, the Agatha,and the Macavity award. Her guides include:

Detecting Women
Detecting Men
Detective Women 2: Reader's Checklist for Mystery Series Written by Women
Detecting Women: A Reader's Guide and Checklist for Mystery Series Written by Women
Willetta's Guide to Private Eye Series

In addition to being a voracious reader, Willetta was a past president of the Detroit Chapter of the Women’s National Book Association, enjoyed moderating author panels and has spent countless hours researching family genealogy.

Read an interview with Willetta Heising in BookReporter. 


Lise McClendon said...

Sad news. She was so active and such a feature at conventions for years. RIP, Willeta.

Charlaine Harris said...

Thanks for letting us know. I remember Willetta well, and am so sorry to hear of her passing.
Charlaine Harris

Vicki Key said...

Willetta attended the same overseas high school as I did, Dreux American High School. We had become good friends after getting to know her at our Dreux Reunions and playing lots of Words with Friends. I was wondering why I had not heard from her in a while and that’s when I discovered she had passed. Did anyone ever hear what happened?