Joan Hess, author of the Claire Malloy Mysteries, the Arly Hanks Mysteries and the Theo Bloomer series (under the pseudonym Joan Hadley), died on November 23 at the age of 68, Mystery Fanfare reported.
Hess began her writing career in 1986 with the publication of Strangled Prose, the first Claire Malloy mystery, and over the years won numerous awards, including the American Mystery Award, the Agatha Award and the Macavity Award. She was a former president of the American Crime Writer's League and a member of Sisters in Crime, the organization supporting women mystery and crime writers.
Hess's last project was finishing The Painted Queen, the final Amelia Peabody novel from longtime friend and fellow mystery writer Barbara Mertz, who wrote as Elizabeth Peters. The Painted Queen was unfinished at the time of Mertz's death in 2013; Hess relied on Mertz's notes and her own conversations with Mertz about the story to complete the book. It was published in July of this year.