Nancy Pickard

The Jenny Cain Series

Nancy Pickard
  1. “If you read for pleasure, there’s probably more pleasure per inch in Pickard’s work than almost any other current crime novelist.”
    Cleveland Plain Dealer
  2. “Pickard has evolved into a novelist of substantial literary power.”
    The Denver Post
  1. Generous Death

    In which we meet Jenny Cain and her friends and lovers for the first time.

    "I didn't know Jenny until after I started writing this book. When the words for the prologue starting coming out of my fingers I realized that: a.) somebody was speaking; b.) it wasn't me; and c.) whoever it was, she/he had a strong voice and a sharp sense of humor. But it was not until the first chapter that I found out she was a young woman who ran a charitable foundation, that she lived in Port Frederick, Mass., and that her name was Jenny Cain. "Well, hi," I thought. "Nice to meet you!" If she had known then what lay head of her in the next nine books I'm not so sure she would have been all that thrilled to meet me!"

    1. In Jennifer Cain, Nancy Pickard has a heroine who is as unusual as she is appealing. Spunky, funny, and smart, her cheerfully cynical slant on Port Frederick's troubles gives a nice edge to the narration. Generous Death is amusing, suspenseful and entertaining.
  2. Say No to Murder

    In which Jenny lands in a lobster "pound" and nearly doesn't survive for the third book!

    "It seems that I am often the last know. Sigh. Just as I didn't know Jenny until pages after she started speaking, I also had no idea that first book would turn out to be a long-running series. "I'll be darned," I thought when some readers told me they wanted more, "so do I." I really liked Jenny and I realized that I wanted to keep following her adventures as long as she was willing to keep dictating them to me."

    Winner of the first Anthony Award for Best Paperback Original Mystery
  3. No Body

    In which Jenny takes on a funeral home and buries it!

    "The first two books were published as original paperbacks. (Fans sometimes sweetly and courteously ask me if I mind autographing paperbacks. Heavens, no, I tell them, because if I hadn't been willing to sign paperbacks for my first two books I wouldn't have had anything to sign at all!) By the time I finished this book I thought I was ready for hardcover. Luckily, Charles Scribner's Sons agreed and my editor became Susanne Kirk, the legendary, now retired though still young, Scribner's mystery editor who was loved by her authors for her kindness to us and to our books."

    1. No Body is one of the funniest mysteries in recent memory. Pickard fashions some of the most fiendishly hilarious scenes this side of Donald Westlake.
      San Francisco Examiner & Chronicle
  4. Marriage Is Murder

    In which Jenny is engaged in a lot more than marriage plans.

    "This book came as a shock to readers who were expecting another funny one. I wish I could have given them some warning, but even the hardcover jacket seemed to promise comedy. While I like to think there's a bit of wit within this story, it's also much darker and more serious in tone than the books that came before. After this one, my poor readers never quite knew what to expect next from me. I am sooo grateful to them for continuing to read me!"

    Winner of the Macavity Award for Best Mystery Novel
  5. Dead Crazy

    In which Jenny continues to mix mystery with social issues.

    "It was about this time that I became known, for a while, as "the social issues" mystery writer, which was something new to the field. Up to this point, Jenny had taken on racism and shady funeral practices, and now she took on mental health issues. This book was inspired by my grandmother who died in a state mental hospital around the time I was born. I couldn't help her, but Jenny could reach out to other people who desperately needed help."

    1. A wonderfully unsaccharine heroine. . .a guaranteed pleasure!
      Kirkus Reviews
  6. Bum Steer

    In which Jenny goes--complaining all the way-- to a cattle ranch in Kansas.

    "I was married for many years to a cattle rancher and I loved being a part of that world for a while. This book gave me the chance to bring Jenny to my home territory for once, instead of me always having to visit her in New England! This is my favorite book in the series and a fair number of readers say it's their favorite, too.

    1. Pickard writes fluidly on family ties, both good and bad, while her appealing detective displays warmth, intelligence and a social conscience as she perseveres in her search for the truth.
      Publisher's Weekly
    Winner of the Agatha Award for Best Mystery Novel.
  7. I.O.U.

    In which there is a death in the family.

    "I don't remember much about writing this book. I do remember that a reviewer insisted that I must have experienced the death of my own mother in order to be able to write it. Nope. My mom is very much alive, thank goodness, and certainly was then, too. I really like the opening of this novel, if you'll pardon me for saying so!"

    Edgar Nominee for Best Mystery Novel
    Agatha Winner for Best Mystery Novel
    Macavity Winner for Best Mystery Novel
  8. But I Wouldn't Want to Die There

    In which Jenny goes to New York and scares herself half to death.

    "This is the only book I have ever written straight from an outline. I wrote a chapter-by-chapter outline, put it up beside my computer and wrote it exactly as planned. When I finished it, I sent it off to my editor (by this time I had moved to Pocket Books where I would find my soul-mate editor, Linda Marrow, who would be with me for almost every one of my books from then on) who read it and then called me to say, "I think you picked the wrong villain." Damn. She was right. I knew she was right the minute she said it, but I didn't have a clue who the real murderer was. I said to her, "Do you happen to know who really did it?" But she didn't. In desperation, I told my family that I was going for a walk and I wasn't coming back until I had figured out who the murderer really was. I don't know how far I walked, but eventually it came to me! The real murderer had been there all along, but I had been too blind to see it. Like a bad detective, I had put my focus on one suspect and refused to consider the evidence against any other! Whew. I almost hung the wrong person."

    1. The core of But I Wouldn't Want to Die There and the delight of it is Jenny's introduction to New York. . .it is Manhattan in all its terrors and triumphs, charms and gritty despairs.
      Los Angeles Times Book Review
    2. "Robust, funny, touching, and engrossing all the way."
      Kirkus Reviews
  9. Confession

    In which somebody mysterious comes riding up to the door of Jenny and Geof's home.

    "This is another book that I have very little memory of writing. Like the other one, I.O.U., this one is also about very emotional times for Jenny, so maybe that has something to do with my own amnesia. Most likely, she has forgotten a lot of this, too, and maybe that's just as well for both her and Geof. (His name, by the way, is pronounced Jeff. I never wanted to spell it as it's spelled, but what can you do? Characters come as they come and their names are spelled as they're spelled. It's not as if I have anything to do with it!)"

    1. Nancy Pickard is acclaimed a one of today's best mystery writers. Mounting evidence suggests that this description is too limited. . .Pickard (is) one of today's best writers, period.
      San Diego Union
    2. Pickard's two strong suits are a richly textured style and a vivid cast of characters that includes, in this case, a family of religious zealots far more believably scary than most fictional villains. Tough, smart (but not omniscient), and loving, Jenny is the kind of heroine who has you pulling for her from the first page.
      Santa Barbara News-Press
  10. Twilight

    In which Jenny and Geof ride off into the sunset of the series.

    "It makes me a little sad to write about this book, because it is--so far, at least--the final one. At the time, it seemed like the right time to call it quits. Jenny needed a break. She needed a chance to live her life without so much constant pressure. I needed a break, too. Whether readers did, as well, I don't know. People still ask me about her, though. She became a friend, I think. But a long series in which characters actually change and grow is like a huge novel--in this case, one with ten big chapters. The arc of that story seemed to end here, at least for now. But I like to think that if Jenny needs me again, she'll let me know. I wonder if they still live in Port Frederick. . ."

    1. . . .a perfect read for a chilly fall evening.
    2. Jenny Cain combines can-do toughness and a tender heart.
      Publisher's Weekly
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