An American author of detective fiction, she transformed the role of women in crime novels by creating the legendary character of V.I. Warshawski. Her popular mystery titles include Indemnity Only, Deadlock, and Bloodshot.
She studied political science at the University of Kansas.
She is a founder of Sisters in Crime, an organization that supports and promotes women in the mystery fiction field.
She married Courtenay Wright in 1976; they became parents to three children.
She and Martha Grimes are both known for their works of detective fiction.