Cathy Pickens


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Cathy Pickens has been, under different names, a lawyer, a business professor, a university provost, a clog-dancing coach, a church organist/choir director, and a typist.

The most profound influences on her life have been her family, her faith, Nancy Drew, and Perry Mason. She grew up in a small town and, forced to move to “big cities” to support herself, first as a lawyer and then as a professor, she found the only way to return to the comfortable familiarity of her childhood was by moving Avery Andrews back home and chronicling her exploits.

The first Avery Andrews novel Southern Fried won the 2003 St. Martin’s Press/Malice Domestic Award for Best New Traditional Mystery. Romantic Times BookClub magazine reviewers named it one of the five “Best First Mysteries” for 2004. Her stories are set in South Carolina, in a town similar to the one where Cathy grew up.

Cathy has also written a mystery walking tour of Charleston, South Carolina: Charleston Mysteries (History Press 2007), Charlotte’s True Crime Stories (History Press 2019), and is true crime columnist for Mystery Readers Journal.

Cathy is a frequent mystery convention panelist, speaking on topics ranging from Southern mysteries to classic true crime stories to the use of poisons. At various times and under various aliases, she’s been a trial attorney specializing in complex civil litigation such as product liability, medical negligence, and commercial contract disputes; a university provost; a professor teaching MBA students about the legal and ethical environment of business; a writer of law books and articles on poisons, private detectives, and legal damages; a church organist and choir director; and a ballroom and clog dance coach.

Cathy has a B.S. degree in financial management from Clemson University, and a J.D. degree from the University of South Carolina School of Law. Her family has lived in South Carolina for over 300 years, but she currently lives over the border in Charlotte, North Carolina. She was the Wireman Professor of Business at Queens University of Charlotte and is a past-president of Sisters in Crime, past board member of Mystery Writers of America, and a founding board member and past president of the Forensic Medicine Program.