Nancy on Castle Hill in Budapest with the Danube river in the background

Nancy Fairbanks Herndon was born and brought up in the St. Louis area, took bachelors degrees in English and Journalism from the University of Missouri, Columbia, where she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, an event almost as exciting and astonishing as the news, delivered by phone early one morning when she had been fast asleep, that her first book had been accepted for publication. She followed those two degrees with a Masters from Rice University, plus some doctoral work in English at New York University.

She held low-paying and not terribly interesting jobs as a typist, sales clerk, proofreader, and advertising copywriter, and then almost as low-paying but much more interesting jobs as a lecturer in English at Rice, NYU, University of Mississippi, Florida Atlantic University and University of Texas at El Paso. In 1989 her first historical romance, Wanton Angel, was published by Dorchester Publishing Co. in NYC under the pseudonym Elizabeth Chadwick. Six more historical romances and seven short stories in various anthologies followed before she published her first mystery, Acid Bath, with Berkley Prime Crime under her married name, Nancy Herndon.

After six additional comic police procedurals in the Elena Jarvis series, she began the Carolyn Blue Culinary mystery series, written under her maiden name, Nancy Fairbanks: Crime Brulee, Truffled Feathers, Death a l'Orange, Chocolate Quake, The Perils of Paella, Holy Guacamole! (which was nominated for a Lefty Award in 2004), Mozzarella Most Murderous (the number 1 bestseller for July, 2005 on the Independent Mystery Booksellers Association list), Three-Course Murder (an anthology of the first three Carolyn Blue culinaries), Bon Bon Voyage (Nancy's first trade paperback—republished in mass market paperback (August, 2007), in case you didn't buy it the first time around), and French Fried, the number 2 best seller for December 2006 on the IMBA list.

Lone Star Sleuths: An Anthology of Texas Crime Fiction, 2007, includes the first chapter of Time Bombs, 1997, a police procedural the author wrote under her married name, Nancy Herndon. The chapter describes a graduation ceremony during which the university's sprinkler system blows up (a protest against wasting water during a time of drought), splattering the wealthy parents and graduates with dirt and leaves, while the televangelist university president prays for the academic shrubbery and the protagonist, Elena Jarvis, who has just received an honorary degree for her law enforcement efforts on campus, suffers from post traumatic stress flashbacks to the time in a previous book, Hunting Game, when she discovered a mountain lion under her dining room table. You might want to check out the earlier series, which combines murder, humor, and social issues.

The latest Carolyn Blue mystery, Turkey Flambé, November 6, 2007, finds Carolyn accused of a terrorist attack on New York just because her Thanksgiving turkeys flamed out of control, causing, among other disasters, a huge accident when tossed onto the limousine windshield of an Arab ambassador to the United Nations. While searching for the turkey saboteur, Carolyn and friend Luz Vallejo team up with her publisher's private detective Abraham Cratchett. Their investigation takes them to Brooklyn and Queens as well as ethnic neighborhoods in Manhattan in search of clues and exotic culinary meals for inclusion in Carolyn's next book, Eating Ethnic in the Big Apple. But will there be another book, or will Carolyn go to jail for assault? At the Metropolitan Opera will Luz enjoy the evening, embarrass Carolyn with snide comments, or win her bet with an amorous Mexican restauranteur, who thinks he can seduce any woman, including the straitlaced Carolyn? Will Abraham's mother, who dreams of grandchildren, manage to set her son up with Luz? Will Carolyn's testy mother-in-law allow herself to be involved in a séance that seeks to connect with a dead feminist?

Buy your copy of Turkey Flambé and join the fun. It features one of the most delicious turkey and stuffing recipes imaginable. Also, with the holiday upcoming, consider buying the Carolyn Blue novels in large type for friends and relatives with eyesight problems.

What's next for the author? Having been disabled by torn ankle ligaments in 2007, causing her to cancel two wonderful trips, Nancy is planning, ankle permitting, to finish her next book, Blood Pudding, and then travel to Strasbourg, France, in June and to Mallorca, Spain, in September.