Carolyn Keene was the pseudonym that Mildred Wirt Benson and Walter Karig used to write Nancy Drew books. The idea of Nancy Drew came from Edward Stratemeyer in 1929. He also had other series, that included the Hardy Boys, but he died in 1930 before the Nancy Drew series became famous. His daughters, Harriet and Edna, inherited his company and maintained Nancy Drew having Mildred Wirt Benson, the original Carolyn Keene, as the principal ghostwriter. During the Depression, they asked Benson to take a pay cut and she refused, which is when Karig wrote the books. Karig's Nancy Drew books were Nancy's Mysterious Letter, The Sign of the Twisted Candles, and Password to Larkspur Lane. He was fired from writing more books because of his refusal to honor the request that he keep his work as Carolyn Keene a secret. He allowed the Library of Congress to learn of his authorship and his name appeared on their catalog cards. Afterwards, they rehired Benson and she wrote until her last Nancy Drew book (#30) was written in 1953, Clue of the Velvet Mask. Harriet and Edna Stratemeyer also contributed to the Nancy Drew series. Edna wrote plot outlines for several of the early books and Harriet, who claimed to be the sole author, had actually outlined and edited nearly all the volumes written by Benson. The Stratemeyer Syndicate had begun to make its writers sign contracts that prohibited them from claiming any credit for their works, but Benson never denied her writing books for the series. After Harriet's death in 1982, Simon and Schuster became the owners of the Stratemeyer Syndicate properties and in 1994, publicly recognized Benson for her work at a Nancy Drew conference at her alma mater, the University of Iowa. Now, Nancy Drew has several ghostwriters and artists that have contributed to her more recent incarnations.
Author Sara Paretsky was born in Ames, Iowa on June 8, 1947. She received a degree in political science from the University of Kansas and ultimately completed a Ph.D. in history at the University of Chicago; her dissertation was entitled "The Breakdown of Moral Philosophy in New England Before the Civil War." She also earned an MBA from the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business. She married a professor of physics (University of Chicago). The protagonist of all but two of Paretsky's novels is V.I. Warshawski, a female private investigator. V. I. Warshawsky shows a female detective succeeding a traditionally male role. Paretsky has won numerous awards for her work including the Silver Dagger Award for Toxic Shock, the Gold Dagger award for Blacklist, and the Diamond Dagger for Lifetime achievement from the British Crime Writers Association.