Awesome Authors #19: Lois Duncan

Lois Duncan

Image Credit: AZ Quotes

I hadn’t thought about Lois Duncan in years!


Born in April 1934, she was the oldest child of professional magazine photographers. Raised in Pennsylvania at first, her family relocated to Florida, where her parents became circus photographers. She played in the woods and read. Duncan started writing and submitting manuscripts to magazines at age 10. She sold her first story at age 13. After graduating from high school in 1952, she enrolled in Duke University. However, she dropped out the following year to start a family with the man who became her first husband, Joseph Cardozo.

Her writing career continued throughout the 1950s, publishing over 300 articles for various magazines. Her first novel, Love Song for Joyce, was published in 1958. In the early 1970s, she was hired to teach journalism at the University of New Mexico, after living in Albuquerque for nearly 10 years. While teaching, she enrolled in classes at the university. She earned her B.A. in English in 1977.

Married twice, Duncan had five children. Her youngest daughter, Kaitlyn, was murdered in 1989. After her daughter’s death, Duncan’s writing shifted to lighter fare, particularly children’s picture books.

Her 1966 novel, Ransom, received an Edgar Allen Poe Award. She was the recipient of the American Library Association (ALA) Margaret A. Edwards Award in 1992. In 2014, she was awarded the Grand Master award from the Mystery Writers of America.

Duncan died on June 15, 2016. She was 82. Although the cause of death was not disclosed, her second husband, Donald Arquette, noted his wife had suffered several strokes in prior years.


Killing Mr. Griffin (1978)

Book cover with a black-and-white marble pattern, showing the title of the novel centered in red, and blue skull and bones at the bottom right

Image Credit: Wikipedia

I’m pretty sure this is first book of Duncan’s I read. Every book written by her, I borrowed from Russell Memorial Library in Chesapeake.

Summer of Fear (1976)

Summer of Fear 1st edition.png

Image Credit: Wikipedia

I don’t remember reading this one, but I wouldn’t be surprised if I did.

The Third Eye (1984)

The Third Eye (novel).jpg

Image Credit: Wikipedia

This one absolutely freaked me out. I don’t think I picked up another book by Duncan for at least six months after this.

Don’t Look Behind You (1990)

Don't Look Behind You.jpg

Image Credit: Wikipedia

I don’t remember reading this one, but I want to. It’s set in Virginia!

I Know What You Did Last Summer (1973)

I-Know-What-You-Did-Last-Summer-Book-Cover.png

Image Credit: Wikipedia

I didn’t make the connection between the book and the film adaptation (1997) until years later.

Chapters: My Growth as a Writer (1992)

Chapters My Growth as a Writer.jpg

Image Credit: Wikipedia

I’ve always been interested and intrigued by authors and their memoirs or autobiographies.

Who Killed My Daughter? (1992)

Who Killed My Daughter.jpg

Image Credit: Wikipedia

Being such a fan of true crime, this book is already climbing toward the top of my next TBR list.


What about you? Have you read any of Lois Duncan’s works?


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

4 thoughts on “Awesome Authors #19: Lois Duncan

  1. Pingback: Imagination Plantation: Love At The State Fair | Life Lessons From Around the Dinner Table

  2. Never heard of her, but looks like she’s due a revival.

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