Cozy Mystery Book Authors

Pam (T’Gracie)Reese and Joe Reese


T’Gracie has always loved mystery books. In elementary school she started reading Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys and moved on to Agatha Christie in Junior High. She then discovered Georges Simenon, Tony Hillerman, Dorothy Sayers, Ngaio Marsh, and a host of other mystery book authors.

For decades T’Gracie pestered Joe, who had previously published two novels and seen several of his plays performed, to write a mystery book. However it wasn’t until one day in 2012 when the Reeses were driving back to their then home of Lafayette, La. from a visit to Hattiesburg, Mississippi that it happened.

The Birth of Nina Bannister and Bay St. Lucy

Their journey took them along the Mississippi gulf coast. They stopped for a bit in the magical town of Bay St. Louis. They walked the beach past seaside houses, sampled croissants, and wandered through artists’ studios. As they continued their journey home, they began talking and planning what was ultimately to become their first cozy mystery book, Sea Change.

Inspiration for the Nina Bannister cozy mysteries are pulled from the Reeses’ real adventures. Game Change was inspired by the Indiana University Purdue University women’s basketball team (where two of T’Gracie’s students played). Attending a community theater performance in Jena, Louisiana, inspired the mystery book Set Change. Summers spent in the Graz, Austria, made it possible to re-create the mysterious Castle Eggenburg, center of international art smuggling in Frame Change. And, the real life discovery of a body in one of Lafayette’s drainage canals became the inspiration for the cozy mystery book Oil Change.

As professors the Reeses find the most time to write during the summers and long winter breaks. While T’Gracie and Joe’s desks are covered in hundreds of student essays and tests to grade, the mystery book characters of Bay St. Lucy remain alive, though temporarily dormant, in their minds. Still, at some time in the next months it will happen: the pile of papers will get graded, another murder will take place in Nina’s seaside home town, the wrong person will be blamed, and she will be called upon once again to help Moon Rivard and his well-meaning, but not quite smart enough, police colleagues ferret out the real killer.

The Nina Bannister series is published by Cozy Cat Press, a small, independent publishing company specializing in producing cozy mystery books.

About Cozy Mysteries

Cozy mysteries feature complex and exciting plots with engaging characters. The main character is typically an amateur sleuth, not a professional law enforcement agent. Cozies are books that do NOT include lots of blood, gore, and violence.

Authors Joe and his wife Pam live currently in Fort Wayne, Indiana. They have three children: Kate, Matthew, and Sam.

Author T’Gracie Reese

TgracieT’Gracie Reese is an assistant professor in Communication Sciences and Disorders at Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne. She finished her Ph.D. in Applied Language and Speech Science at the University of Louisiana-Lafayette in 2013. Previously, she worked as speech pathologist in schools and in private practice. She was also a supervisor in communication disorders at Ohio University. T’Gracie likes nothing better, professionally, than helping small, silent two year old boys start talking.

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Author Joe Reese

JoeJoe Reese is a novelist, playwright, storyteller, and college teacher. In addition to the Nina Bannister Mystery Book series, Joe has written two novels (Katie Dee and Katie Haw: Letters from a Texas Farm Girl and Dear Katie Dee: More Letters from a Texas Farm), several plays (Lunacy: A Play for our Times and A Peachtree Haunting), and a number of stories and articles. When he is not teaching (English and German), he enjoys visiting elementary schools, where he tells stories from the Katie Dee novels and talks to students about writing.

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