I am a reader who looks forward to new releases by my favorite authors. I know Tana French has a new book (The Hunter) coming out on March 5 which is a sequel to (The Trespasser). I always wait with anticipation for her books and others from the writers I read faithfully. I know the dates and months of releases. I am a fan girl to many.

            When a favorite author dies it leaves a hole in my heart and my reading calendar. Years later I will lament that there won’t be a new book coming, which is a powerful statement about how much writers affect their readers. Words survive their death and leave an abyss when there can be no more. Here are five writers whom I read eagerly each year and still miss. There are many more, but I’ll limit it to five.

Sue Grafton     Ever since I opened A is for Alibi, I was hooked. Not only could Grafton weave a tidy mystery, but she was also masterful at creating memorable characters. Her protagonist, Kinsey Millhone, was tough, yet vulnerable, quirky, and super smart. Her friendship with an octogenarian neighbor was endearing. I went through the alphabet with Grafton, which unfortunately only ran through Y due to her death. I would have ridden through a second trip of the alphabet with her and still miss her writing and Kinsey. I am consoled by the memory of her sitting between fellow writer, Ang Pompano, and Grafton at a New England Crime Bake breakfast, when Grafton earnestly wanted to know about our writing. M is for Malice was my favorite of her books. She created a murder victim with a tenderness I rarely see.

William Tapply           Bill Tapply wrote a series about a reluctant Boston lawyer named Brady Coyne, who preferred flyfishing to courtroom antics. He frequented Beacon Hill and the Boston harbor front but could also be found occasionally in the grittier sections of Beantown. Tapply, who taught writing, wrote with an intoxicating ease. His plots were intricate and his characters compelling. I had the privilege of taking a writing course with him and learned more in a weekend than I had in the previous decade. I was sad when he died and knew he would understand that part of me also mourned Brady Coyne.

Peter Robinson           I am a sucker for British mysteries, especially police procedurals. Robinson, who was British and Canadian, brought elegance to the role of his protagonist, DCI Alan Banks. His plotting was impeccable, his characters rich and multi-dimensional, and his settings, mostly in Yorkshire, had me smelling the wet grass and tasting the fine scotch, Alan Banks loved. I could hear the operas Banks would blare, later opting for contemporary music and switching to wine. Whatever, wherever, Alan Banks was, I was in the room. The sincere search for justice in the 28-book series never felt forced. In a Dry Season remains one of my favorite mysteries.

M.C. Beaton   Whether an Agatha Raisin or Hamish MacBeth book, I relied on M.C. Beaton to deliver me comfort food for the eye. She was offended by the notion she wrote “cosy” novels, and she was one outspoken author I wouldn’t want to debate. Her writing was sharp and set in places I would want to vacation. Crusty, conniving Agatha resides in the pastoral Cotswolds where she creates chaos and encounters murders like a British Jessica Fletcher. Hamish is a bumbling but not unintelligent constable living in Lochdubh on the west coast of Scotland. I could always count on M.C. Beaton to provide me a pleasant escape for several hours. Often, I would purchase her latest and stash it away like I might a sinful chocolate bar.

.Mary Higgins Clark  I was a young mother with two toddlers when I read Where Are the Children while visiting my grandmother. I vividly remember sitting in the sun in her backyard as my heart began to beat more rapidly with each page that I tuned. It may have been the first time I had a visceral reaction to a mystery. I was hooked and eagerly awaited Clark’s releases for decades. I had the honor of meeting her at a charitable book event on Cape Cod shortly before she died.

What writers do you miss? Do you find satisfaction when others take up the pen in the name of the deceased author? Sadly, I do not, which I suppose is a tribute to the original writer.

C. Michele Dorsey is the author of Oh Danny Girl and the Sabrina Salter series, including No Virgin Island, Permanent Sunset, Tropical Depression, and Salt Water Wounds. Her latest novel, Gone But Not Forgotten was published by Severn House 2023. Michele is a lawyer, mediator, former adjunct law professor and nurse, who didn’t know she could be a writer when she grew up. Now that she does, Michele writes constantly, whether on St John, outer Cape Cod, or anywhere within a mile of the ocean.  



  1. I remember the grief I felt when Agatha Christie died. I used to love knowing that each year a new book from her would arrive and I was heartbroken. I too am very excited for Tana French’s new book, tho0ugh I wish she’d write more about the Murder Squad.

  2. Michele, you are so right. Hearing that there will be no more books from a beloved author is a true grief. Lately I’ve been reading a lot about Jane Austen–biographies, her letters, etc–and I’ve wondered what wonderful books she might have written had she lived. I, too, mourned the passing of Peter Robinson. And the recent death of Christopher Fowler means there will be no more from London’s Peculiar Crimes Unit. We could go on and on. But at least the books that were written remain. Miss Jane and her sister, Cassandra, reread novels aloud many times with great enjoyment.

  3. I miss Sue Grafton the most. As you also experienced, she was the world’s nicest person and a brilliant writer.

  4. Oh you are so right. Sue Grafton and Peter Robinson are sorely missed by me, as is Christie, but my heart hurts when I know there won’t be another book by PD James.

  5. Marni, the only reason I didn’t include PDJames was that her installments weren’t released as regularly. But I miss her books dearly.

  6. What a great list! Definitely going to look up ALL the ones mentioned. I remember how crushed I was when I learned of Arianna Franklin’s death. Her books would rivet me to my seat every time. And I do so love reading Dorothy Sayer’s Lord Peter Whimsy books over and over. She captures the period so well.

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