Carolyn Gimpel Hart is an award-winning American mystery writer who specializes in traditional mysteries, also known as cozy mysteries. Hart was born Carolyn Gimpel and was raised in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, where she attended Cleveland Elementary School, Taft Junior High School, and Classen High School. At the age of 11, Hart decided that being a newspaper reporter would be the most exciting, rewarding, and worthwhile thing she could do. She worked on school papers beginning in grade school and continuing all the way through her college years.
Hart is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of Oklahoma (class of 1958), where she majored in journalism. Hart met her husband, Philip, while traveling in Europe in her junior year in college. After graduation and while her husband attended law school, Hart worked as a reporter for The Norman Transcript. She gave up journalism to concentrate on childrearing and housekeeping after the birth of her son, Philip Jr.
In 1964, the same year her daughter, Sarah, was born, Hart won a writing contest calling for a mystery novel that would appeal to adolescent girls, which was sponsored by Dodd, Mead and Calling All Girls. After that success, she went on to write several more teenage and young adult mysteries between 1965 and 1972. From 1972 to 1987, she wrote nine stand alone suspense novels and mysteries which had only modest sucess. Until the publication of books by Marcia Muller, Sara Paretsky, and Sue Grafton, publishers had little interested in mysteries written by female American authors. The success of these authors opened the door for Hart's Death on Demand series in 1987.
Hart's stand-alone World War II novel Letter from Home was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction by the Oklahoma Center for Poets and Writers at Oklahoma State University—Tulsa. Hart lives in Oklahoma City.
Hart has twice appeared as one of the featured mystery authors at the Library of Congress National Book Festival on the Mall in Washington, D.C. .
Hart's first commercially-successful adult mystery series features Annie Laurance, proprietor of the Death on Demand bookstore, located on the fictional South Carolina island community of Broward's Rock. By using a mystery bookstore for her background, Hart has given her characters the opportunity to talk freely about other mystery authors and books. One of the ongoing themes of the series is a contest whereby the first customer who correctly identifies a series of five mysteries just from the clues in a painting hanging in the shop wins his or her choice of a novel.
Hart's Henrie O mysteries feature 70-something retired newswoman, Henrie O'Dwyer Collins, as she travels the country and the world, solving crimes that seem to follow her as she travels. Henrie gets by on her grit, tenacity, and sensible shoes.
Hart's newest protagonist, the ghost of a woman killed at sea who returns to earth via the "Rescue Express" to help her fictional hometown of Adelaide, Oklahoma while trying not to violate the Precepts for Earthly Visitation and adjusting to her powers on earth.