The 2009 Festival of Reading is honored to include Elaine Viets, the author of two national bestselling mystery series. She is the recipient of the Agatha, Anthony and Lefty Awards.
Her Dead-End Job series is a satiric look at a serious subject – the minimum wage world. Elaine and her character, Helen Hawthorne, work a different low-paying job each book. They’ve been everything from bookstore clerk to hotel maid. The South Florida series has been called “Janet Evanovich meets The Fugitive.” Shop till You Drop, the first book in the series, takes place at a dress shop where Helen sells bustiers to bimbos. The second, Murder Between the Covers, is set at a bookstore. Elaine worked at a Barnes & Noble in Hollywood, Florida, for a year to research that book. For the third Dead-End Job novel, Dying to Call You, Elaine was a telemarketer and telephone survey taker. Her fourth Helen Hawthorne Book, Just Murdered, is set at a high-priced wedding salon. The fifth Dead-End Job mystery, Murder Unleashed, is set at an expensive dog boutique in Fort Lauderdale. For book six in the series, Murder With Reservations, Elaine and Helen worked as hotel maids. Read it, and you'll never look at a hotel bedspread the same way. Clubbed to Death, the seventh Dead-End Job mystery, is set at a country club, where members ask the staff, “Do you know who I am?”It's a hilarious look at the rich and face-lifted.
Elaine’s second series, featuring Josie Marcus, mystery shopper, is a look at the pink collar world of secret shopping. This critically acclaimed series debuted in October 2005 with Dying in Style and tied with Stephen King on the Independent Mystery Booksellers Association bestseller list. High Heels Are Murder is a novel of suburban sex, murder and toe cleavage. Accessory to Murder is the third Josie mystery.
Elaine’s short stories have appeared in the New York Times bestselling anthology, Many Bloody Returns, edited by Charlaine Harris and Toni L. P. Kelner, as well as the Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine and many anthologies including Drop-Dead Blonde, High Stakes, the award-winning Chesapeake Crimes I, the Mystery Writers of America’s Blood on Their Hands, edited by Lawrence Block; the Mystery Writers of America’s Show Business Is Murder, edited by Stuart Kaminsky; and the World’s Greatest Mystery and Crime Stories, edited by Ed Gorman and Martin H. Greenberg.
Elaine has appeared on national television including the Discovery Channel and the Sally Jesse Show. She does commentaries for the NPR station, KWMU. Elaine has served on the national boards of the Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime.