David Housewright

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David Housewright
David Housewright Photo.jpg
Housewright publicity still taken by Renee Valois
Born (1955-02-07) February 7, 1955 (age 62)
St. Paul, Minnesota
Occupation Novelist, freelance writer
Nationality American
Alma mater University of St. Thomas
Genre Crime fiction, mystery fiction
Notable works Penance, Practice To Deceive, Jelly's Gold, Curse of the Jade Lily

A former President of the Private Eye Writers of America (2014–15),[1] David Housewright (born February 7, 1955) is an American author of crime fiction whose work has won an Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America [2] as well as three Minnesota Book Awards.[3] He is best known for the Rushmore McKenzie and Holland Taylor series set most often in and around the greater St. Paul and Minneapolis area of Minnesota, USA.[4] His books have been favorably compared to Raymond Chandler, Ross MacDonald [5] and Robert B. Parker.[6]


Housewright was born and raised in St. Paul, Minnesota. He is the son of Eugene Housewright, Sr., a businessman, and Patricia Langevin Housewright. He attended Cretin High School where he was editor of the school newspaper until he was fired for printing an editorial opposing the Vietnam War. “I attended an all-boys Catholic military school during the height of Vietnam war. Of course they fired me. You would have fired me, too,” Housewright told the Wild River Review.[7] He earned a degree in Journalism from the University of St. Thomas. He now lives with his wife, writer and theater critic Renee Marie Valois, in Roseville, MN.


Literary career[edit]

Housewright’s first book, Penance (1995), which introduced detective Holland Taylor,[8] won the 1996 Edgar Award for Best First Novel from the Mystery Writers of America and was short listed for a Shamus Award from the Private Eye Writers of America.[9] The second book in the series, Practice to Deceive(1997)[10] won the 1998 Minnesota Book Award and was optioned for the movies. In 2004, he introduced unlicensed P.I. Rushmore McKenzie with A Hard Ticket Home. The sixth novel in the series, Jelly’s Gold (2009) also won the Minnesota Book Award, as did Curse of the Jade Lily (2013). Tin City (2004) and The Taking of Libbie, SD (2010) were also nominated for the same prize. In 2012, Housewright released two stand-alone novels – The Devil and the Diva (written with Renee Valois) – a 2013 Minnesota Book Award nominee – and a young adult crime novel entitled Finders Keepers.

Advertising career[edit]

Before starting a career as a novelist, Housewright worked as a copywriter and creative director for Twin Cities advertising agencies such as Kamstra Communications, DBK&O, Blaisdell & Westlie and his own shop Gerber-Housewright, as well as Andersen Windows. His clients included Federal Express, 3M, Hormel Foods, Tony's Pizza, Jim Beam, the California Institute of Technology, Champion Batteries, and Partnership for a Drug-Free America. His work has been cited for a number of industry awards including the CLIO, One Show, Communication Arts, The Show, Silver Microphone, Telly, Olivers, Pro-Comm, ACE, IABC, ARC, ECHO, and NAMA and has been featured in ADWEEK, Archive and ADS magazines.[11]

Journalism career[edit]

Housewright honed his research, interviewing, writing and editing skills while working as a news and sports reporter for the Owatonna People’s Press (summer internship), Minneapolis Tribune, Albert Lea (MN) Evening Tribune and the Grand Forks (ND) Herald. His articles have also appeared in publications such as Format Magazine, ADWEEK, Crimespree Magazine and The History Channel Magazine..[12]

Teaching career[edit]

Housewright’s success as a novelist led to an invitation to teach a course on the Modern American Mystery Novel at the University of Minnesota. He frequently works as a writing instructor for the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota where he teaches a course entitled It's Basic: How To Write a Novel.[13]



Holland Taylor series[edit]

Penance (1995 Foul Play Press ISBN 9780881503418) – Edgar Award Winner Best First Novel from Mystery Writers of America, Shamus nominee Private Eye Writers of America

Practice to Deceive (1997 Foul Play Press ISBN 9780881504040) – 1998 Minnesota Book Award winner

Dearly Departed (1999 W. W. Norton ISBN 9780393047714)

Rushmore McKenzie series[edit]

  1. A Hard Ticket Home (2004 St. Martin's Press ISBN 9780312321499)
  2. Tin City (2005 St. Martin's Press ISBN 9780312321512) – 2006 Minnesota Book Award nominee
  3. Pretty Girl Gone – (2006 Minotaur Books ISBN 9780312348298)
  4. Dead Boyfriends (2007 Minotaur Books ISBN 9780312348304)
  5. Madman On A Drum (2008 Minotaur Books ISBN 9780312370824)
  6. Jelly's Gold (2009 Minotaur Books ISBN 9780312370824) – 2010 Minnesota Book Award winner
  7. The Taking of Libbie, SD (2010 Minotaur Books ISBN 9780312559960) – 2011 Minnesota Book Award nominee
  8. Highway 61 (2011 Minotaur Books ISBN 9780312642303)
  9. Curse of the Jade Lily (2012 Minotaur Books ISBN 9780312642310) – 2013 Minnesota Book Award winner
  10. The Last Kind Word (2013 Minotaur Books ISBN 9781250009609)
  11. The Devil May Care (2014 Minotaur Books ISBN 9781250009616)
  12. Unidentified Woman #15 (2015 Minotaur Books ISBN 9781250049650)
  13. Stealing the Countess (2016 Minotaur Books ISBN 9781250049667)

Stand-alone novels[edit]

The Devil and the Diva (2012 Down & Out Books ISBN 1937495264) – written with Renee Valois – 2013 Minnesota Book Award nominee

Finders Keepers (2012 Down & Out Books ISBN 1937495396)

Short stories[edit]

Kids Today (Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, July 1999)

“How To Trick Any Woman Into Having Sex” (aka The Sultan of Seduction True Romance Magazine, April 1999)

A Domestic Matter (The Silence of the Loons, 2005 Nodin Press ISBN 1932472363)

Mai-Nu’s Window (Twin Cities Noir, 2006 Akashic Books ISBN 1888451971)

Miss Behavin’ (Resort to Murder, 2007 Nodin Press ISBN 1932472479)

Last Laugh (Once Upon A Crime, 2009 Nodin Press ISBN 978-1-935666-37-0)

Time of Death (Deadly Treats, 2011 Nodin Press ISBN 1935666185)

Obsessive Behavior (Writes of Spring, 2012 Nodin Press ISBN 978-1-935666-37-0)

A Turn of the Card (Fifteen Tales of Murder, Mayhem and Malice From the Land of Minnesota Nice, 2012 Nodin Press ISBN 1935666436


  1. ^ ”Private Eye Writers of America” http://www.privateeyewriters.com/current_executive.html
  2. ^ "Edgar Award Winners and Nominees in the Private Eye Genre," Thrilling Detective. http://www.thrillingdetective.com/trivia/triv50.html
  3. ^ Minnesota Book Award Winner and Nominees http://www.thefriends.org/programs/mnbookawards/award_winners_and_finalists.html
  4. ^ Mystery Writers of America http://www.mysterywriters.org/user/707
  5. ^ “Kirkus Reviews” http://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/david-housewright/a-hard-ticket-home/#review
  6. ^ “Publisher’s Weekly” http://www.publishersweekly.com/978-0-88150-404-0
  7. ^ Wild River Review http://www.wildriverreview.com/4/spotlight_thrillride-housewright.php
  8. ^ "Penance (review)". Kirkus Reviews. November 1, 1995. 
  9. ^ "The Private Eye Writers of America and The Shamus Awards," Thrilling Detective. http://www.thrillingdetective.com/trivia/triv72.html
  10. ^ Stasio, Marilyn (November 9, 1997). "Crime". New York Times. Retrieved 22 October 2012. 
  11. ^ Fresh Fiction" http://freshfiction.com/author.php?id=9051
  12. ^ Fresh Fiction" http://freshfiction.com/author.php?id=9051
  13. ^ "Loft Literary Center" https://www.loft.org/classes/detail/?loft_product_id=14972
  14. ^ "Crime Novelists" http://authors.omnimystery.com/housewright-david.html