Dorothy Gilman was born in New Brunswick, New Jersey on June 25, 1923. She studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Under her married name, Dorothy Gilman Butters, she began publishing children's books in the late 1940s including Enchanted Caravan and The Bells of Freedom. In 1966, she published The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax, which became the first novel in the Mrs. Pollifax Mystery series. The series concluded in 2000 with Mrs. Pollifax Unveiled. The series was the basis of two movies: the 1971 feature film Mrs. Pollifax - Spy starring Rosalind Russell and the 1999 television movie The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax starring Angela Lansbury. Her other works include The Clairvoyant Countess, Incident at Badamya and Kaleidoscope. A Nun in the Closet won a Catholic Book Award. She died due to complications of Alzheimer's disease on February 2, 2012 at the age of 88.