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Charlotte (Matilda) MacLeod (1922-2005) Biography


(Alisa Craig, Matilda Hughes)


See index for SATA sketch: Born November 12, 1922, in Bath, New Brunswick, Canada; died January 14, 2005, in Lewiston, ME. Author. MacLeod was an award-winning author best known for her "cozy" mysteries. Brought to Boston from Canada with her family when still an infant, she attended what is now the Art Institute of Boston and became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1951. During the late 1940s and early 1950s, she worked as a copy writer and staff artist for Stop and Shop Supermarkets in Boston. In 1952 she took a job as copy chief for the advertising firm N. H. Miller & Company. Here she eventually rose to the position of vice president, retiring in 1982. While still working her nine-to-five job, MacLeod began writing fiction, beginning with short stories and books for young readers. Her early books for children include Mystery of the White Knight (1964) and The Fat Lady's Ghost (1968), as well as some titles under the Matilda Hughes pen name, such as Headlines for Caroline (1967). Her first mystery series for adults featured the character Peter Shandy, a horticulturist who solved crimes on the side. Shandy made his debut in Rest You Merry (1978) and was featured in nine additional novels. Macleod also wrote a mystery series featuring Sarah Kelling, a widow who ran a boarding house on Beacon Hill, and two other series under the Alisa Craig pen name: the "Madoc Rhys" series and the "Grub-and-Stakers" series. MacLeod's crime stories have been characterized as "cozies"; that is, they are not hardboiled mysteries of detection but rather very proper, often funny tales that emphasize dialogue and clever resolutions rather than violent plotlines. Though not as well known as the likes of Agatha Christie, MacLeod was widely praised as an outstanding writer. She received a Nero Wolfe Award, two Edgar Allan Poe award nominations, and five American Mystery awards, as well as the Lifetime Achievement Award in 1992 from Bouchercon. In addition, she cofounded the American Crime Writers League. Among her many other books are The Withdrawing Room (1980), The Curse of the Giant Hogweed (1985), The Resurrection Man (1992), Exit the Milkman (1996), and the children's book The Balloon Man (1999). She also edited two anthologies and authored Had She but Known: A Biography of Mary Roberts Rinehart (1994).



Chicago Tribune, January 17, 2005, section 4, p. 9.

Houston Chronicle, January 17, 2005, p. 6.

Los Angeles Times, January 19, 2005, p. B9.

New York Times, January 23, 2005, p. A26.

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