Mystery Authors You May Have Missed
Julie Smith

Photo of Julie Smith

Julie Smith was born in 1944 and raised in Savannah, Georgia. She received a BA in 1965 from the University of Mississippi, where she majored in journalism. Her career includes working as a reporter for the New Orleans Times-Picayune and the San Francisco Chronicle. Her journalism roots are reflected in her fast-paced writing and the insider’s view of the cities that serve as the backdrops of her novels. Her background in private investigation is also reflected in her writing. Early in her career Smith wrote case reports for a private investigator, a vocation she gave to one of her characters, Paul Langdon. Interestingly, Smith is also a licensed Private Investigator, a title she earned in 2001 by taking the Louisiana State Board Private Investigator course..

What she writes: Smith is the creator of four mystery series. All of her novels are distinguished by the authentic portrayals of each of the cities in which they are set. Each of her mystery series reflects the different characteristics of their settings. New Orleans is the setting of her two most recent series, featuring Talba Wallis or Skip Langdon. Her earlier series are set in Los Angeles, which is seen through the eyes of her investigators, Rebecca Schwartz or Paul Langdon. Smith’s mysteries are replete with memorable and sometimes eccentric characters. She is acclaimed for her ability to tell great stories with fast-moving, complex plots and a healthy dose of wit and humor. She is not afraid to address difficult social issues, and many of her mysteries include them. The protagonists of each of her series are quite different. Rebecca Schwartz is a Jewish feminist lawyer, while Paul McDonald is an out of work mystery writer. Her New Orleans protagonist Talba Wallis, a young black woman, is both a poet and a private eye. Skip Langdon, also female, is a detective in the New Orleans Police Department.


List of works
Talba Wallis mysteries
  Louisiana Hotshot (2001)  
  Louisiana Bigshot (2002)  
  Louisiana Lament (2004)  
  P.I. on a Hot Tin Roof (2005)  
Skip Langdon mysteries
  New Orleans Mourning (1990) The Kindness of Strangers (1996)
  The Axeman's Jazz (1991) Crescent City Kill (1997)
  Jazz Funeral (1993) 82 Desire (1998) - Introduced Talba Wallis
  New Orleans Beat (1994) Mean Woman Blues (2003)
  House of Blues (1995)  
Rebecca Schwartz mysteries
  Death Turns a Trick (1982)  
  The Sourdough Wars (1984)  
  Tourist Trap (1986)  
  Dead in the Water (1991)  
  Other People's Skeletons (1993)  
Paul McDonald mysteries
  True-Life Adventure: A Novel (1985)  
  Huckleberry Fiend (1987)  
Other titles
  New Orleans Noir, editor (2007)
  Mean Rooms (2000)


Edgar Allan Poe Award, Mystery Writers of America, 1991, for New Orleans Mourning, the first novel in the Skip Langdon series.

What the critics say
"This spicy gumbo of steamy mystery, saucy humor and piquant social commentary should appeal to discriminating crime fans." - Publishers Weekly
"…a solidly crafted crime product – effortless, witty, and resolutely feminist." - Booklist
"Smith is a gifted writer." - Washington Post Bookworld
"In choosing a tour guide to crime and corruption in New Orleans, you want to know where the authors will send you for a good time. Julie Smith will stroll you through the Garden District, in New Orleans Mourning and treat you to a muffuletta at the Napoleon House." - New York Times Books


Learn about other Mystery Authors You May Have Missed.