Thursday, December 4, 2008

Forget Cabot Cove -- Anne George's Birmingham and her Southern Sisters Mysteries

Writer, publisher, teacher, and poet Anne George was born on this day, December 4th, in 1927. She passed away in 2001, leaving a literary legacy that reaches far beyond her home state of Alabama.

Anne was born Anne Carroll Bell in Montgomery, Alabama. She was raised by her grandparents initially and moved to rural Lowndes County as a young girl. It was in her childhood that she became enamored with the detective stories -- from the magazines in her grandparents' house. Upon graduating high school, she attended Judson College in Marion, Alabama and graduated in 1949 from Samford University with a degree in English and Spanish.

She married and moved to Birmingham, where she taught English for over two decades. During that time she attended graduate school at The University of Alabama at Birmingham, earning an MA in English and Education in 1971. She also pursued a doctoral degree, and during that time founded Druid Press with her fellow student Jerri Beck. After ten years in the publishing business, they sold the press and Anne began writing full time.

She is best known for her Southern Sisters mystery series. This popular series began as a short story based on herself and a cousin. The first book in the series, Murder on a Girls' Night Out, was accepted for publication less than a week after she sent it to her agent. She eventually published seven books in the series, with such titles as Murder on a Bad Hair Day, and Murder Shoots the Bull. All of her writing is greatly influenced by her surroundings -- making Birmingham, Alabama center stage for her mysteries.

She was also a successful poet, publishing two volumes of her work. Though she is gone, she is not forgotten by her legions of fans who identify with and idolize Patricia Anne and Mary Alice, two unlikely sleuths full of Southern charm and humor.

Anne George, as an Alabama author, is included in the Hoole Library's Alabama Collection.

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