Margaret Press is the author of the Salem-based mystery series featuring Detective Sergeant Gabriel Dunn (Requiem for a Postman, 1992, and Elegy for a Thief, 1993, Carroll & Graf.) The series was acclaimed in, among others, the Boston Globe (“…gripping and compassionate,”) Kirkus, Booklist (“…a procedural for all seasons,”) Washington Post, and Publisher’s Weekly (“a powerful realism informs this solid, gritty procedural about a decent, compassionate, hard-working cop in a small working-class city.”)
Her true crime debut, Counterpoint: A Murder in Massachusetts Bay, with Joan Noble Pinkham (Addicus Books, June 1996) was re-released in paperback by St. Martin’s Press under the title A Scream on the Water: A True Story of Murder in Salem. It is the true story of a recent murder case on the North Shore. Her book inspired an Unsolved Mysteries episode in 1996 and a documentary, part of the A&E series City Confidential, in 1998. She is currently at work on a second true crime.
In 2004 her essay “Salem as Crime Scene” appeared in the award-winning anthology Salem: Place, Myth and Memory, edited by Nancy Schultz and Dane Morrison, Salem State College. (Northeastern University Press, April 2004). Since then she’s been working on a series of inter-connected short stories, the first of which – “Feral” appeared in WindChill, edited by Sky Alexander, Kate Flora, and Susan Oleksiw. (Level Best Books, 2005.) The third, “Family Plot” appearing in DeadFall (Level Best Books, 2008) won the AL Blanchard Award fopr 2008.
Raised in California, Press holds a doctorate in linguistics from UCLA and was an undergraduate at UC Berkeley. After extensive field work in American Indian languages, she published a descriptive grammar of Chemehuevi, a nearly extinct dialect of the Uto-Aztecan family. See http://www.margaretpress.com/wordpress/chemehuevi/. Recently she served as language consultant on an upcoming movie.
For a number of years she worked as a speech and language specialist at a Boston-area school for multi-handicapped children, before moving into computer programming. Press has taught courses in linguistics and acquisition of language in children, as well as mystery and crime story writing, most recently at Salem State College. She currently works for a software company in Cambridge, Massachusetts.