Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book


Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Eleanor Taylor Bland  

Pen Name: None

Genre: Mystery Non-Fiction

Born: 1944 in Boston, Massachusetts

Sites:


Illinois Connection

Eleanor Bland lived in Waukegan.

Biographical and Professional Information

Bland has been referred to as "the most prolific among African-American female mystery writers". She was one of the first African-American women to break into suspense fiction. Her popular Marti MacAlister series of books address serious issues: racism, alcoholism, elder issues, child abuse and homelessness. She also edited, Shades of Black: Crime and Mystery Stories by African American Authors in 2004.


Published Works Expand for more information


Titles At Your Library

Dead Time (Marti MacAlister Mysteries)
ISBN: 0312977190

St. Martin's Paperbacks. 2001

Eleanor Taylor Bland's legions of fans, as well as new readers, will now be able to read the highly acclaimed novel that launched one of the first-- and one of the best-- mystery series written by an African American writer about an African American female cop. Dead Time will take you on an exhilarating ride through the streets of Chicago with one of the most unforgettable characters in mystery fiction today...

Black, widowed, and mother of two, police detective Marti MacAlister has relocated from Chicago to Lincoln Prairie, Illinois, only to be confronted with small-town attitudes and a partner who's not sure women belong in homicide. But Matthew "Vik" Jessenovik's old-fashioned thinking is far less compelling a problem than a brutal murder at the Cramer Hotel, home to the elderly, poor, and mentally ill.

When Marti and Vik discover that two abandoned children might have seen the killer, the case becomes even more urgent as Marti must use all of her street smarts to find a killer who is desperate to eliminate any possible witnesses to the crime-- even if it's two innocent homeless kids...

Slow Burn (Marti MacAlister Mystery)
ISBN: 0451179447

Signet. 1994

The deaths of a young woman and little girl in a suspicious fire that destroys a woman's clinic lead homicide detective Marti MacAlister and her partner, Vik Jessenovik, on the trail of an evil killer with a taste for young girls. Reprint.

Gone Quiet
ISBN: 0451182677

Berkley. 1995

Wishing she could kill her husband of thirty-five years, Gladys Hamilton is surprised when someone else beats her to it, and police detectives Marti MacAlister and Vic Jessenovik search for the truth about a shameful family secret. Reprint.

Done Wrong (Marti MacAlister Mysteries)
ISBN: 0312957947

St. Martin's Paperbacks. 1996

Cops were dying. A killer was going free. A woman with a broken heart was out to make a difference.

A mother, a widow, a black woman cop, Marti MacAlister lives and works in a quiet suburb. Part of her died in Chicago when her husband, an undercover cop, was killed by a bullet from his own gun. Now Marti is headed back to the city to find the truth about Johnny MacAlister's death.

Another Chicago undercover cop has died in a drug buy gone wrong, and Johnny's name keeps coming up. Guided by informants, scattered clues, and the hard wisdom of the streets, Marti scours the city's underbelly for the truth she must have: the kind of truth that can give a grieving woman back her life, or take it away all over again.

Keep Still (Marti MacAlister Mysteries)
ISBN: 0312961723

St. Martin's Paperbacks. 1998

Crime veteran Marti MacAlister has put her husband's killer in jail and her heart on hold while she juggles life with two teenagers and eighteen-hour days as the only black woman cop in a Chicago suburb.

In a summer of drugs, gangs, guns, and weirdos, two new homicides seem unrelated-a lonely old woman's fall down her basement steps casts suspicion on her bickering heirs and an ex-teacher drowns in a motel pool with no one to mourn her.

Then a collection of newspaper clippings and an eruption of brutal murders propel Marti back seven years to an abused child's disappearance-and into a fierce need to pull the threads together. Slowly, skillfully, she draws closer a killer out to bury a family horror only Marti can lay to rest.

See No Evil (Marti MacAlister Mysteries)
ISBN: 0312968183

St. Martin's Dead Letter. 1999

Detective Marti MacAlister investigates the murder of a young woman whose criminal contacts may put a homeless man at risk. And while Marti looks for one killer, another has come from the past and into her home-zeroing in on all that is dear to Marti.

Tell No Tales (Marti Macalister Mysteries)
ISBN: 0312971133

Minotaur Books. 2000

The blissful aftermath of Marti MacAlister's second wedding doesn't last long when her longtime partner Matthew "Vik" Jessennovik interrupts the honeymoon with some disturbing news. Two murders-one recent and another decades old-shock a wealthy Chicago suburb. Now Marti and Vik must get to the heart of two complex cases. And what they uncover will put their unlikely partnership at risk-not to mention their lives...

Scream in Silence (Marti MacAlister Mysteries)
ISBN: 0312974949

Minotaur Books. 2001

Beloved for both her complex mysteries and her fascinating main character, African-American female cop Marti MacAlister, Eleanor Taylor Bland is "one of today's most talented mystery writers" (Booklist). Now Marti is newly married, juggling domestic bliss and a blended family, when an arsonist/bomber shatters the peace of their sleepy Chicago suburb. Suddenly Marti and her partner Matthew "Vik" Jessenovik are working overtime to investigate a series of crimes that appear victimless--until a woman's charred body is discovered in the smoking ruins of a vacant house. There's no time to lose as they race to find a sociopath who has them in his sights--as he graduates from backlot blazes to wholesale homicide, in search of the ultimate thrill....

Whispers in the Dark: A Marti MacAlister Mystery
ISBN: 0312307330

Minotaur Books. 2002

A fine rain was falling as Detective Marti MacAlister made her way through the tall grass to the wooded area where the arm had been found. It was cool for early September, and the rain, little more than a mist, felt cold. Marti stared at the hand. The fingers were curled in a beckoning gesture.

Eleanor Taylor Bland's popular African-American heroine, homicide detective Marti MacAlister, and her partner are assigned a most unusual case-all that's left of the unfortunate murder victim is an arm. Their investigation leads them into the exclusive and secretive history of the artistic community in Lincoln Prairie, Illinois.

Meanwhile, Marti's troubled best friend Sharon is slowly getting involved with a man who makes Sharon's friends and family uneasy. When he spirits her away to the Bahamas, then lures her daughter down after them, Marti has no choice but to go to the islands on a dramatic rescue mission.

Another captivating tale of danger and obsession from Eleanor Taylor Bland, Whispers in the Dark will keep fans and new readers alike in gripping suspense.

Windy City Dying: A Marti MacAlister Mystery
ISBN: 0312320485

Minotaur Books. 2003

Marti MacAlister, Eleanor Taylor Bland's popular African-American heroine, is forced to confront some extremely personal demons from long ago-her husband Johnny MacAlister is long-buried, but now someone from Johnny's past is back, looking for him, and Marti fears she knows who it might be.

In the meantime, her work as a suburban Chicago homicide detective has taken her back in time in another way, to a group of children she once counseled, each now four years older and with four more year's worth of problems. There's LaShawna, now seventeen and with her own four-year-old daughter

Padgett, all grown up at twelve but still living with his alcoholic mother

and then Jose, fifteen, who's in the most trouble of them all. He's been accused of murder, but the Jose that Marti remembers could not have committed such a terrible crime. Her first step is to find out what could have happened in the past four years to lead Jose to such a desperate act, and she hopes her second step will be to prove his innocence.

It won't be easy, though

just what's going on with this tight group of kids, and how does it relate to the increasingly foreboding sense of doom Marti gets about the mystery man who's nosing around the remnants of her distant past? She's not sure, but she knows she must figure it all out, and soon, before another of the children, or even Marti herself, falls into grave danger. Windy City Dying is another taut, absorbing read from one of the masters of mystery fiction.

Shades of Black: Crime and Mystery Stories by African-American Authors
ISBN: 0425200140

Berkley. 2005

A dazzling collection of crime and mystery stories, Shades of Black is a landmark achievement. Bringing together today's brightest talent from the field-from Walter Mosley, "one of America's best mystery writers" (New York Times), to the late Hugh Holton, whose "gift for retaining suspense is golden" (Chicago Sun-Times)-it is the first anthology of African-American mystery writers. Shades of Black is not only a tribute to the art of storytelling-it's a fascinating foray into the rich and widely varied African-American experience.

Includes stories by:

Frankie Y. Bailey

• Jacqueline Turner Banks

Chris Benson

Eleanor Taylor Bland and Anthony Bland

Patricia E. Canterbury

Christopher Chambers

Tracy Clark

Evelyn Coleman

• Grace F. Edwards

Robert Greer

Terris MacMahan Grimes

Gar Anthony Haywood

Hugh Holton

Geri Spencer Hunter

Dicey Scroggins Jackson

Glenville Lovell

Lee E. Meadows

Penny Mickelbury

Walter Mosley

Percy Spurlark Parker

Gary Phillips

Charles Shipps

A Dark and Deadly Deception (Marti Macalister Mysteries)
ISBN: 031232667X

Minotaur Books. 2005

Chicago detective Marti MacAlister has her work cut out for her these days. First, during the filming of a big Hollywood movie on location in Lincoln Prairie, the body of one of the film's stars turns up dead, along the shores of the Des Plaines River. Then, the skeletal remains of another gunshot victim turn up in a hundred year old building that is being renovated. The closer Marti comes to piecing the clues of each case, the closer they come to understanding how the two cases are connected. But the longer it takes, the more dangerous the killer becomes.

This next book in Eleanor Taylor Bland's acclaimed series is a captivating story that will engage both fans and new readers with its suspense and wit.


Awards

-- Eleanor Taylor Bland has received the Pen Oakland Josephine Miles Award, and The Chester A. Himes Mystery Fiction Award.