Mystery Authors You May Have Missed
Jeanne M. Dams

Photo of Jeanne Dams

Reading English mysteries since she was a teenager, Jeanne Dams fell in love with England and knew that the second best way to perpetuate this passion would be to write her own English mysteries. The best way, of course, would have been to find a quaint old cottage in South East England and become a popular mystery writer in her dream land. Unable to afford said cottage when first starting out, Dams decided to live that life vicariously through writing fiction.Dams created amateur sleuth Dorothy Martin to fulfill this dream. While she still takes pleasure in writing about Dorothy, she later developed a new series featuring Hilda Johansson.

A former elementary school teacher, Dams readily admits that she left the profession for the good of American children. To further enhance her income, she is also a freelance editor and helps other published and aspiring authors. When she is not writing or editing, Dams enjoys spending her time with her husband and their cats, singing in a chamber choir, hat shopping, and antiquing with an eye for dollhouses, miniatures, old steam trains, and most things from the Victorian era.

What she writes: Jeanne Dams presented Dorothy Martin, a charming amateur sleuth and lover of outrageous hats, in her first cozy mystery series. After their many years in the United States, Dorothy and her husband Frank had planned to retire in England to the small college/cathedral town of Sherebury, just outside of London. Unfortunately, Frank’s unexpected death changes Dorothy’s plans. She tries to move on with her life without her beloved husband and, after discovering the death of a clergyman on Christmas Eve, meets Chief Constable Alan Nesbitt. The death of the clergyman is not the last crime Dorothy meddles in – as Dorothy’s curiosity is always getting the best of her. Dorothy continues to snoop around whenever the need and desire arises.

Hilda Johansson is the heroine of Dams’ second series which is set in South Bend, Indiana at the turn of the century (1900). As a young Swedish immigrant, she becomes a maid at the Tippecanoe mansion for the prominent Studebaker family. Returning home from an evening out, Hilda was shocked when she encountered a dead body on the Studebaker’s property. Lacking confidence in the local police to solve this horrific crime, Hilda uses her network of local servants and immigrants to bring resolution to this case. Hilda continues her amateur sleuthing throughout this charming historical mystery series.

Her most recent work (coauthored with Barbara D’Amato and Mark Richard Zubro) is a stand alone thriller, Foolproof, set several years after the 9/11 attacks about the two sole survivors of a software firm. Now, owners of a security company with a secret anti-terrorism division, they discover a conspiracy relating to the upcoming presidential election and put their lives at risk to prevent this atrocity.


List of works
Dorothy Martin series
  The Body in the Transept (1995) Killing Cassidy (2000) – large type
  Trouble in the Town Hall (1996) To Perish in Penzance (2001)
  Holy Terror in the Hebrides (1997) Sins Out of School (2002) – CD
  Malice in Miniature (1998) Winter of Discontent (2004) – large type
  The Victim in Victoria Station (1999)  
Hilda Johansson series
  Death in Lacquer Red (1999) – CD Silence is Golden (2002)
  Red, White, and Blue Murder (2000) Crimson Snow (2005) – large type
  Green Grow the Victims (2001) Indigo Christmas (2008)
Other works
  Foolproof (2009) - Jeanne M. Dams, co-author


The Body in the Transept won the Agatha Award for Best First Novel for 1995 in addition to an Anthony Award for Best Cover Art in 1996. This title was also nominated for a Macavity Award.

What the critics say about Dorothy Martin
"[Dorothy is] described as a modern-day Miss Marple. Personally, I think she’s more interesting...and Jeanne Dams a better writer...If you’re a classic mystery lover, you’re sure to enjoy the books of Jeanne M. Dams. Her characters, settings and stories have a depth not often seen in this sub-genre." - Mystery News
"Fans of the English cozy will put the kettle on, snuggle under a lap rug, and sigh contentedly..." - Kirkus Reviews
"...a cozy as comforting as a hot cup of tea and as deliciously spicy as one of Dorothy’s mince pies." - Publishers Weekly
What the critics say about Hilda Johansson
"We learn, without realizing we’re being taught anything at all, about social customs, class divisions, even the day-to-day operations of a wealthy turn-of-the-century household. Great characters, fascinating history, compelling mystery: this series could go on forever." - Booklist
"It is always a pleasure to visit the Studebaker Mansion with Hilda Johansson, the likeable, quick-thinking Swedish maid. In addition to the suspense of a mystery based on a true crime, Jeanne Dams gives us a great feel for immigrant life at the turn of the century, with the gulf between rich and poor and the tensions between various ethnic groups...Dams captures it all so well." - Rhys Bowen, author and winner of the Agatha, Anthony, and Herodotus awards


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