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Melodie Johnson Howe Books In Order

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Publication Order of Claire Conrad & Maggie Hill Books

The Mother Shadow (1990)Description / Buy at Amazon
Beauty Dies (1994)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Diana Poole Books

Shooting Hollywood (2012)Description / Buy at Amazon
City of Mirrors (2013)Description / Buy at Amazon
Hold a Scorpion (2016)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Anthologies

Hook, Line & Sinister(2010)Description / Buy at Amazon

Melodie Johnson-Howe is an American writer and a former actress.

She was born in Los Angeles, California, on October 23, 1943. There she grew up with all of the sunshine and palm trees. She always thought that she would be a writer, but it turns out that life had other plans once Hollywood discovered Melodie. She was just 21 years old when she conducted a screen test for Universal Studios. She had never acted professionally, but that month, she was able to score a seven-year contract.

It was that same month that she got married to record producer Bones Howe, who had three small kids. They got married on March 27, 1965. She says that when you are 21, you can ‘do anything’. When it comes to her theater career, she has been in the 1968 movie Coogan’s Bluff, and appeared on Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre and the 1969 movie Love, American Style.

For her first acting job, it was a television movie. She was shot and her character died during the titles and was covered with a sheet as she was put into an ambulance. Her hair was the only thing that showed. Her next role was also a television movie, where the tables turned as she was the one doing the shooting, shooting Mickey Rooney dead.

She would appear in several movies in the years to come. One was co-starring with James Farentino in The Ride to Hangman’s Tree. She also co-starred with Clint Eastwood in Coogan’s Bluff. She would also appear in a movie called Gaily, directed by Norman Jewison, as well as Rabbit Run alongside James Caan and acted alongside Alan Alda in The Moonshine War.

It was a busy time in Melodie’s life, because she was engaged with raising her family while also doing her acting. She went to UCLA Extension at night to study creative writing. Despite all of her acting experience, she still wanted to be a writer. She penned her own play in 1980 called The Lady of the House. It was put on by the Los Angeles Theatre Center and was her first real success. She was also acting a lot at the time, doing commercial after commercial on television where things were sold– everything from shampoo to beer, cars, deodorant, and more.

Melodie was having a lot of success acting but started to feel a change of heart. One time she walked into an interview to do a dog food commercial and ended up leaving the room after wondering just what it was she was doing when it came to her creative life. She put the script down and left the room and did not return to acting after that.

Melodie Johnson-Howe is the creator and writer of the Claire Conrad and Maggie Hill mystery series. The literary series first got started in 1989, with the publication of the debut novel. It is called The Mother Shadow. The series would see a sequel come out, as the second novel Beauty Dies was published in 1994. The books enjoyed success at Viking after being rejected by several other publishing companies. The debut novel was nominated for an Edgar Award, Anthony Award, and Agatha Award.

She is also the author of the Diana Poole series, which consists of City of Mirrors, Hold a Scorpion, and Shooting Hollywood. She is a writer now but has been writing ever since she was a child, coming up with plays. Although she was living what every actress’s dream might be with steady work in movies, she left Hollywood officially in the eighties so that she could write mystery novels. She is also the author of Shooting Hollywood: The Diana Poole stories, which is a collection of short stories all about an aging actress that is attempting to make its comeback.

The Mother Shadow is the first book in the Claire Conrad and Maggie Hill mystery series. If you like mystery books, then be sure to check out this novel for yourself!

In the aftermath of a suicide, it’s up to two amateur female sleuths to look into a coin collection that is valued quite highly. In this book, readers meet the main character of Maggie Hill.

For Maggie, it seems like her entire life has become filled with temporary things. The jobs that she works are all temporary, and her marriage ended up being temporary too. If she can’t get some more work, she might find that her situation in California ends up the same way.

She’s working for now, though. Ellis Kenilworth is a client that has engaged her services. He is getting older, but he is a coin expert with a great collection of coins to check out. His family, however, is not the prize that his collection appears to be.

One day she’s doing work for Ellis when he has her type up changes to his will. His rare coin collection, which is worth millions, is no longer going to his family. Instead, he has her make it out to a Claire Conrad. But before the sun sets, the changes that he has made to the will have disappeared. He has also departed for the next life with the help of a shotgun at hand.

Maggie is now dealing with Ellis’s nightmare of a family on her own. It isn’t too long before they come to her to try and get her to restore the will so that they get his riches and not this Claire Conrad. Maggie does not have much of a choice in the matter and decides that she’s going to reach out to Conrad to find out what is going on.

It turns out that Conrad is a stylish private detective and she only wears wardrobe items that are black or white. She’s interested in what Maggie has to say, and once Maggie explains that his last wish was for her to have the coin collection, the two start working together to try and make his dying wishes come true.

The only problem is that they’re up against a family who is greedy and wants the coins for themselves, no matter what. Will they be able to see his dying will through and fend off the self-interested relatives too? Read this mystery novel to find out!

Beauty Dies is the second novel to come out by Melodie Johnson-Howe. If you liked the first novel, check this second one out too!

Maggie Hill is back, along with fellow detective Claire Conrad. She’s accepted a role as Claire’s assistant and the two are making their way to Los Angeles.

They’re suddenly interrupted when a woman appears at the hotel they’re staying at. Her message is clear: a model who passed away recently did not do so at her own hand. They say don’t kill the messenger, but in this case the messenger is in very real danger.

Claire and Maggie team up to look into what she was saying and find out the truth. Get a copy of this book to find out how the story ends!

Book Series In Order » Authors » Melodie Johnson Howe

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