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Nancy Pickard Books In Order

Publication Order of Jenny Cain Books

Generous Death (1984) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Say No to Murder (1985) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
No Body (1986) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Marriage is Murder (1987) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Dead Crazy (1988) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Bum Steer (1990) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
I.O.U. (1991) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
But I Wouldn't Want to Die There (1993) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Confession (1994) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Twilight (1995) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Eugenia Potter Books

The 27 Ingredient Chili Con Carne Murders (1992) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Blue Corn Murders (1998) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Secret Ingredient Murders (2001) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Marie Lightfoot Books

The Whole Truth (2000) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Ring of Truth (2001) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Truth Hurts (2002) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Naked Came the Phoenix (2001) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Virgin of Small Plains (2006) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Scent of Rain and Lightning (2009) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Short Story Collections

Tales of Obsession: Mystery Stories of Fatal Attractions and Deadly Desires (1994) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Murder, They Wrote (1997) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Storm Warnings (1999) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Anthologies

Malice Domestic 3 (1994) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The First Lady Murders (1999) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Mom, Apple Pie, and Murder (1999) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books

Seven Steps on the Writer's Path: The Journey from Frustration to Fulfillment (2003) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle


Nancy Pickard was born in 1945. The established US crime novelist hails from Missouri. She was a late bloomer, beginning her writing career at the age of 35. Her versatile opus includes crime novels and short stories, which brought her various awards throughout her career. She started by writing short stories and continued in 1984 with her first novel Generous Death, which was the first in the Jenny Cain series of crime novels. This is her magnum opus, containing ten books, which got the attention of the readers she deserved. The second installment in the mentioned series got Nancy an Anthony Award, which foreshadowed the success of the series.

She got her degree in journalism from the University of Missouri in Columbia, Missouri. After starting with short stories in the 80s, she experienced a loss of sorts. Another author, Virginia Rich, whose works Nancy loved, passed away in the mid-eighties. Rich’s husband wanted his late wife’s work to continue, so he gathered up all of the material that was left on the adventures of Mrs. Potter, the main character of the series. Eventually, Nancy Pickard was chosen to continue writing the series she used to only read not long ago. In the beginning of new millennium, she released another series, called Marie Light foot series. Nothing topped the success of the Jenny Cain series, in which five of the ten novels got her an award. She was also the first person to win in four different categories in the world of writing: she has won five Macavity Awards, four Agatha Awards, an Anthony Award, and a Shamus Award.

Characters by Nancy Pickard

Nancy’s best known character is definitely Jenny Cain, the main protagonist in the Jenny Cain series. This character holds much power, since she is a director of a large Foundation. She is quite intelligent, attentive and she has a sense of humor around her. Although she is in a position, where she could extort and harass people under her, she has high morals, which makes her a very peculiar director with unusual traits. Most of these novels focus on relations between characters and it is obvious that Jenny knows how to talk to people and maintain relationships.

And then there’s Marie Light foot, another crime fighter. This series is beloved by readers and it adds a new spin to the crime novels. Marie is a crime novelist, which makes her a perfect character for a crime novel. She is passionate about her work and unfortunately fearless. There many opportunities to showcase the elements of crime writing and a way for Ms. Pickard to project her life into fiction so far.

Books by Nancy Pickard

Generous Death

The first novel in the series (1984) introduces us to Jenny Cain, a strong female character, who finds herself in the midst of a series of murders. Jenny runs a Foundation in Port Frederick, which often receives godly amounts of donations. This represents a motive in this book and Jenny could just as well be the next victim. Each time a murder occurs, there is a note left, containing a rhyme. Setting changes a few times throughout the book, reaching climax in the burning museum, which is definitely a high point of the book. There are marks of Agatha Christie, which you can sense, but it stands on its own as a unique work, never looking for influence too much. GeofBushfield is another character in the novel, who builds a romantic relationship with Jenny. He’s her coworker and we here we see the beginning of their relationship, which goes to another level in the sequel.

Marriage is Murder

This is her fourth novel in the Jenny Cain series, focusing on domestic violence as a cruel way of killing in the novel. It was published in 1987. Jenny seems to be at an ideal point of her life, having GeofBushfield as her partner, everything’s perfect. They start planning for the wedding and then, of course, a series of murders begins, with an interesting MO. The victim type in this one is a husband in a family with more children, history of drug abuse and domestic violence. Murder weapons are hard to come by and none of the wives- being the main suspect- are saying anything. Jenny suspects one of them or someone from behind, who has a different motive. The author never reveals too much- the suspense is building from start to finish.

The Virgin of Small Plains

This novel was released in 2007, diving once again in the world of crime. Rex Shellenberger is a teenager, who stumbles upon a naked, dead body one day while looking for calves. It’s a body of a girl, which makes him sad, because she looks beautiful. At this point, we can already connect this first case with the title of the book. The book spans through two decades, focusing on the local reaction to this incident. There are miracles in this book, which start to occur after the incident. The grave of the victim is regularly visited due to the sad events and there is a rumor going on, that you can benefit from visiting the grave. Another person goes missing right after the revelation of the first death and he returns twenty years later, bringing back ghosts of the past. There are three main suspects in this novel: Dr. Quentin Reynolds, former sheriff Nathan Shellenberger, and Judge, Tom New quist. All of these characters are powerful, in high positions to meddle with the locals. The story follows three families, all of which are connected to each other so far.

Nancy Pickard also served on the board of directors of the Mystery Writers of America. She is frequently a panelist at the Great Manhattan Mystery Conclave, a convention for mystery writers and fans in Manhattan, Kansas. She is one of the most influential writers in the crime story world, having won over 20 awards throughout her career. Readers fall for her characters, the intriguing plot, the building tension and smart writing, always one step ahead of the reader.

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