Biography of a Biographer
The Good, the Bad, and the Lengthy
Jeffrey Marks is a long-time mystery fan and freelancer. He was fascinated by the men (and women) behind the mysteries he loved, and he saw glimpses of them in places like the early Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine covers with photos and short bios of featured authors and his neighbor Charles Norton who wrote a biography of Melville Davisson Post.
After numerous mystery author profiles for The Armchair Detective, Mystery Scene, and other genre publications, he chose to chronicle the short but full life of mystery writer Craig Rice. That biography (Who Was That Lady?) encouraged him to write mystery fiction. His works include Atomic Renaissance: Women Mystery Writers of the 1940s/1950s, a group biography of women who had written in the years following WWII and their impact on the genre. Marks had corresponded to many of them during his time working on the Rice biography. He also published a biography of mystery author and critic Anthony Boucher entitled Anthony Boucher. He received a grant while working on that book. It was nominated for an Agatha and fittingly, won an Anthony.
Marks is currently working on a biography of Erle Stanley Gardner, a book on Gardner’s work with his Pre-Innocence Project, Court of Last Resort, and a dual biography of the two men who wrote as Ellery Queen.
Marks has also written mystery fiction. The first mystery he ever read was The Underdog and Other Stories by Agatha Christie, and he’s always had a fondness for short stories. His earliest works were short fiction, and he has won some regional awards for those works. He published four short story anthologies on various themes, including Canine Crimes and Canine Christmas. He’s currently working on a series of semi-autobiographical mystery short stories.
He wrote two series of mystery novels, one featuring a department store cosmetics department. The first book in that series won the very first Malice Domestic Grant. The other series came from his short story work, featuring US Grant as the historical detective in a series set just after the Civil War.
In 2014, Marks, who had a degree in IT, offered to help Doug Greene with Crippen & Landru Publishers website issues. After fixing those issues, he proceeded to upgrade the website to a new shopping cart software package. That led to creating a more robust eBook program, and in 2018, Doug Greene retired (to become Senior Editor) and Marks took over the company.
His work has won a number of regional awards including the Barnes and Noble Prize and he was nominated for a Maxwell award (DWAA), an Edgar (MWA), three Agathas (Malice Domestic), two Macavity awards, and three Anthony awards (Bouchercon). Marks retired from teaching in 2020, and today, he writes from his home in Cincinnati, which he shares with his spouse and three dogs.
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Jeffrey-Marks-271929135155/ Twitter: @jeffrmarks