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Dead End Job mystery series (2003-2014)

American author Elaine Viets started out as a columnist for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. In the early 90s, she moved to Washington and continued writing a syndicated column. Shortly after, she began writing mystery novels and almost entirely left the newspaper business. Her first mystery series was the Francesca Vierling series. Vierling starred in four mysteries and was a St. Louis newspaper columnist. Her series was published from 1997-2000.

In 1997, Viets moved to Fort Lauderdale, Florida and created her second mystery series, The Dead End Job series. Viets researches for this series by taking on the same low level, dead end jobs that the series’ protagonist, Helen Hawthorne works. Some of the jobs Hawthorne (and Viets) took were telemarketing, shop clerk, bookstore clerk, hotel maid, customer service rep, shampoo girl and pet showing. During the course of the series Hawthorne marries her P.I. boyfriend, Phil Sagemont, and eventually set up their own P.I. agency and pose as low level workers. (Before this, Hawthorne had been on the run and worked off the books in an attempt to conceal her whereabouts so her ex-husband couldn’t catch up with her.) The Dead End Job series was published from 2000 to 2014.

Viets has created a third series based on mystery shopping, featuring Josie Marcus. Her series has been published from 2005 to 2013.