Ellen Hart Books In Order

Publication Order of Jane Lawless Books

Hallowed Murder (1989) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Vital Lies (1991) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Stage Fright (1992) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
A Killing Cure (1993) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
A Small Sacrifice (1994) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Faint Praise (1995) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Robber's Wine (1996) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Wicked Games (1998) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Hunting The Witch (1999) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Merchant of Venus (2001) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Immaculate Midnight (2002) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
An Intimate Ghost (2004) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Iron Girl (2005) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Night Vision (2006) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Mortal Groove (2007) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Sweet Poison (2008) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Mirror and the Mask (2009) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Cruel Ever After (2010) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Lost Women of Lost Lake (2011) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Rest for the Wicked (2012) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Taken by the Wind (2013) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Old Deep and Dark (2014) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Grave Soul (2015) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Fever in the Dark (2017) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Sophie Greenway Books

This Little Piggy Went to Murder (1994) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
For Every Evil (1995) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Oldest Sin (1995) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Murder in the Air (1997) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Slice and Dice (2000) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Dial M For Meat Loaf (2001) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Death on a Silver Platter (2003) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
No Reservations Required (2005) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Collections

Murder, They Wrote (with Mary Daheim, Jane Dentinger, Marjorie Eccles, Sally Gunning, Jean Hager, Kate Kingsbury, Janet Laurence, Marlys Millhiser and Nancy Pickard) (1997) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Ellen Hart is an award winning writer of currently over thirty mystery novels, with most of them featuring the lead characters of either Jane Lawless or Sophie Greenaway. Hart originally worked as a professional chef in restaurants for over fourteen years, and combined her passion with cooking with her equal passion with writing. The result was the first Jane Lawless book, a mystery novel featuring a female chef as the lead, that has since gone on to become one of the best selling mystery novel series featuring a female lead, and also been the recipient of numerous awards.

Personal Life

Hart first worked as a chef for over fourteen years in Minnesota before settling down to become a full time mystery writer in 1989, a career that she has been enormously successful at. For most of her life she lived with her partner of many decades, Kathy, in Minneapolis before moving to the town of Eden Prairie in 2012, where she has since resided. She also teaches introductory classes to mystery writing at the Loft Literary Center located in Minneapolis.

Characters and Early Works

By way and large, the most popular series that Hart has written is the Jane Lawless series. The series and the character of Jane have been frequently compared in favorable light with the Miss Marple series mystery books written by Agatha Christie, one of the highest selling authors of all time.

As stated in the introduction, Hart has held a passion for cooking and writing her entire life. The culmination of these two passions together was the Jane Lawless series of mystery books that feature the lead titular character, a restaurateur who also investigates mysteries with the help of her loyal sidekick, Cordelia.

The first entry in the Jane Lawless series, entitled Hallowed Murder, was released in 1989 to immediate financial success and critical acclaim. The plot of the book concerns the drowning of a woman named Allison Lord that the police take to be a suicide, but that Allison’s friends from the University of Minnesota believe was the result of murder.

Jane Lawless, an alumnae advisor at the college, investigates Allison’s death with the help of her sidekick named Cordelia. The clues that Jane finds leads her on a trail to a snowy vacation lodge in the middle of the harsh and frigid Minnesota winter, where she must identify and eventually confront Allison’s killer.

Critics praised Hallowed Murder upon release for its innate ability to grip the attention of the reader from the very first page, and for the fact that it successfully relies on suspense rather than gruesome violence in order to intensify the reader. The pushing aside of violence in favor of suspense and tension in Hallowed Murder would later go on to become a trademark of Hart’s work, not only in the Jane Lawless series but in other books she has written as well.

Hart’s actual writing style in Hallowed Murder was also the subject of acclaim, with critics and ordinary readers alike noting the elegant nature of the writing that evoked Agatha Christie’s own unique and suspenseful writing style in decades previously.

Hart’s next book, and the sequel to Hallowed Murder, was released two years later in 1991 with the title of Vital Lies. In this entry, Jane Lawless now works as a Minneapolis restaurateur and is invited to an inn to investigate a murder that happen in years previously. Once again, Jane’s comrade and sidekick Cordelia accompanies her. Together, the two women find a series of seemingly unrelated clues that they must piece together in order to solve the murder mystery and once again confront an even more dangerous killer.

As with Hallowed Murder, Vital Lies received critical acclaim. Critics once again complimented Hart’s ability to rival the writing style and suspenseful of the older and still huge popular Agatha Christie stories, while also pointing out the realistic dialogue and humorous exchanges that were present in the book despite its overall dark and suspenseful tone. Once again, Vital Lies avoided the use of graphic violence present in many other mystery novels, and instead relied on building throughout the book in order to entertain and intensify the reader.

Vital Lies effectively cemented the Jane Lawless series as a forced to be reckoned with in the mystery genre. Since the two novels, over dozen more entries have been added into the series, and that number is only likely to continue to grow into the future.


Hart has been the recipient of numerous awards in recognition of her high quality work. Five entries in the Jane Lawless series have won the Lambda Literary Awards, which are awarded by the Lambda Literary Foundation for the best works that explore LGBT issues.

Other examples of awards that Hart has been given include the Trailblazer Award, a highly sought after award given by the Golden Crown Literary Society, the Alice B Medal, and the Golden Crown Literary Award (which she has been awarded three times).

Other examples of awards that Hart has been given include the Trailblazer Award, a highly sought after award given by the Golden Crown Literary Society, the Alice B Medal, and the Golden Crown Literary Award (which she has been awarded three times).


There’s no denying that Hart has proven herself to not only be one of the best writers of mystery books featuring a female lead, but of mystery genre novels in general. Her books have received the praise that they rightfully deserve, as they mostly avoid the use of gruesome violence in order to focus more on the suspense that the murder mystery genre really is about. Furthermore, Hart’s books are noted for their crisp writing, sharp wit, imaginative humor that’s appropriate for the suspenseful tone and setting, and realistic dialogue and conversations that character’s have back and forth.

It is these qualities in Hart’s works, and that of her merging her passion for writing with that of cooking in order to create a truly believable, original, and intriguing character in the form of restaurateur/mystery solver Jane Lawless, that have transformed her into a hugely successful author and who can also serve as an inspiration for other writers in the same genre of novels.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Ellen Hart