Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Michael Craft  

Pen Name: None


Born: 1950 in Elgin, Illinois

-- Michael Craft on WorldCat --

Illinois Connection

Born in Elgin, Illinois and worked for the Chicago Tribune in Chicago, Illinois.

Biographical and Professional Information

Graduated from the University of Illinois.

Published Works Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library

Flight Dreams (Mark Manning Mystery)
ISBN: 1575668548

Kensington. 2000

Struggling to come to terms with his own homosexuality, investigative journalist Mark Manning sets out to find missing Chicago socialite Helena Carter, who vanished seven years ago and is about to be declared legally dead, with the bulk of her fortune going to the Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago. Reprint. 15,000 first printing.

Boy Toy: A Mark Manning Mystery (Mark Manning Mysteries)
ISBN: 0312287097

Stonewall Inn Mysteries. 2002

Mark Manning gave up a career as a prominent journalist at a major daily newspaper in Chicago to take over as the owner and publisher of the Dumont Daily Register, the daily newspaper in a small Wisconsin town. Living there with his lover, architect Neil Waite, and his nephew and ward Thad Quatrain, Mark's life in Dumont is usually quiet.

At the moment, the biggest news is the forthcoming production of a new play by the local community theater group. Two local teenage boys are alternating in the lead role - one is Jason Thrush, a gregarious and somewhat egotistical athlete, and the other is Thad Quatrain. When Jason and Thad have a verbal clash during rehearsal, it is quickly forgotten by almost everyone involved. But when Jason turns up dead on opening night - leaving Thad to take over the lead role - the local gossip turns against Thad. Jason's death is soon proved to be murder and, even though he has not been charged, opinion about town has all but convicted Thad of the crime.

Sure that Thad is innocent, Mark, with the help of his lover and friends, is determined to publicly clear Thad's name. But that means finding out exactly what happened to Jason Thrush on that fatal day and Manning's investigation may place him and his loved ones in mortal danger.

Bitch Slap: A Mark Manning Mystery
ISBN: 0312305303

Minotaur Books. 2004

Journalist Mark Manning has been successfully running his family's newspaper, The Dumont Daily Register, for several years now, and he sits on the board of two local companies, Quatro Press and Ashton Mills. So when the respective CEOs of these companies discuss a merger, it is only natural that Manning be interested in the proceedings. What's more, Manning's lover Neil, an architect, is designing a new house for Ashton's CEO, Gillian Reece.

Reece is a business friend of Manning but not a friend to many else she is generally considered overly aggressive and fastidious. When Manning assigns Glee Savage, the newspaper's society reporter, to cover Reece's new home, the subsequent meeting between the two does not end well: Savage huffs off in a fury but not beforae ferociously bitch slapping Reece in front of everyone. With Reece's cheek still smarting, more bad news comes as the accountant performing due diligence for the merger reports some very questionable items regarding Ashton's books.

It seems as though things couldn't go much worse for the unpleasant Reece. That is, until she is murdered. The discovery of her body is greeted with great surprise, but perhaps not much regret on the part of most who knew her. Still, with Manning's friend and employee Glee Savage as the obvious and primary suspect, he cannot resist wading in to this most unsound of business dealings.

Name Games: A Mark Manning Mystery (Mark Manning Mysteries)
ISBN: 0312270798

Stonewall Inn Editions. 2001

Mark Manning, once a prominent journalist at a major daily newspaper in Chicago, is now the owner and publisher of the Dumont Daily Register, the daily paper in a small Wisconsin city. Here the biggest news is the impending city council report on a proposed new adult bookstore zoning law, the upcoming election for Sheriff and the upcoming annual exhibition of the Midwest Miniatures Society. In a unique coup for the first-ever miniatures exhibition in Dumont, the "king of miniatures", Mr. Carroll Cantrell has agreed to come and judge the show's main event.

But the exhibition itself is quickly shoved off the front page of the paper when Cantrell is found murdered in his room. To make matters worse, Doug Pierce, the local sheriff, is widely believed to be responsible. Pierce - a closeted gay man and friend of Mark Manning - had been carrying on an affair with Cantrell and was the last person seen leaving his room before the body was discovered. As conservative elements in Dumont attempt to exploit the murder - and the sheriff's association with the deceased - to their own ends, Manning, with the help of his lover, architect Neil Waite, his staff and friends, starts his own investigation of the murder. With Cantrell having led something of a double life with no end of potential enemies and the miniatures world itself being a hot bed of rivalries and closely held resentments, the truth begins to feel very elusive indeed. As public sentiment begins to swing and time running out for Sheriff Pierce, Mark must uncover some of this close-knit town's most deeply held secrets if he's to learn the truth in time.

Hot Spot : A Mark Manning Mystery
ISBN: 0312289006

Minotaur Books. 2002

During his distinguished career as a journalist, Mark Manning has seen it all--riots, murder, political corruption, and every manifestation of the dark heart of the human species. But even his proven emotional resources will be stretched when the home he shares with his lover, architect Neil Waite, and his ward and nephew, Thad Quatrain, becomes the site of one of the most daunting, taxing, and potentially dangerous of all human rituals--a wedding.

Roxanne Exner, best friend to both Mark and Neil, is having her nuptial ceremony at their house in the normally bucolic Dumont, Wisconsin, partly because Carl Creighton, her husband to be, is in the final weeks of his campaign for lieutenant governor of Illinois. For Roxanne, Dumont will afford some needed distance from the campaign, and for the city of Dumont, it will be the social event of the season. The wedding, despite everyone's fears, comes off with nary a hitch. The reception, however, takes a disastrous turn when a local matron, who happens to be a major donor to the campaign of Creighton's rival, is killed in what appears to be a freak electrical mishap.

Authorities soon discover that the electrocution was no accident. Then another shocker--Roxanne herself becomes the prime suspect. If Roxanne is ever to enjoy her honeymoon, and if Carl and his running mate are to stand a chance of election, Mark finds himself in a race against the clock to solve a most perplexing murder.

Desert Autumn: A Claire Gray Mystery (Claire Gray Mysteries)
ISBN: 0312280343

Minotaur Books. 2001

Claire Gray is a much traveled, highly regarded and very successful theatrical director who, in the prime of her career, accepts an offer to head the Theatre Department at Desert Arts College near Palm Springs, California. Funded by enigmatic billionaire, Desert Arts College is a new college with a state of the art facility and a prestigious faculty recruited for its inaugural year. But Claire's start is not particularly auspicious - newly arrived and before the school year has even begun, Claire stumbles across a dead body.

The dead body is the wife of a fellow faculty member, whom Claire agreed to drive home from the airport when he came in from a recruiting trip. Since no good dead goes unpunished, Claire is now on the edges of a homicide investigation. Even though she has a million things to do before the semester starts, Claire just can't seem to leave the murder case alone. Drawing upon her theatrical expertise, including a keen understanding of human nature, plotting, and motivation, Claire sets out to untangle the mystery surrounding the brutal murder. There is, however, a murderer on the loose and if Claire isn't careful and lucky, her debut as a sleuth might well be her final act.

Desert Winter: A Claire Gray Mystery
ISBN: 031230501X

Minotaur Books. 2003

After 30 some odd years of success as a director on Broadway, Claire Gray has accepted her first academic position - that of a theatrical director at the richly funded Desert Arts College in Palm Springs. Having lived a largely peaceful life in Manhattan, she is stunned to find herself in the midst of the second murder - and murder investigation - in a matter of months in Palm Springs. This time it's a local aged and ailing collector - who frequently lends pieces to local charity events or dramatic productions - found dead shortly after Claire's friend and neighbor Grant Knoll was there. With Grant a suspect in his murder, along with several others with equally good motives for wanting him dead, Claire decides to look into the circumstances of his unfortunate death.

Desert Spring: A Claire Gray Mystery
ISBN: 0312320809

Minotaur Books. 2004

After a long and successful career as a theatre director in Manhattan, fifty-something Claire Gray succumbed to a tempting offer to establish the theatre department at the new and very well funded Desert Arts College in Palm Springs. It has proven to be an exciting opportunity for Claire but now she's facing the end of her first academic year with a measure of melancholy. Not only is the spring production about to end but her student and clandestine lover, Tanner Griffin, is about to leave school for Hollywood. The person responsible - renowned producer Spencer Wallace - spotted Tanner in an earlier school stage production and signed him to a role in his next film, Photo Flash. Now with the closing performance of the spring production completed, the cast party at Claire's house promises to be a bittersweet affair.

What Claire gets, however, is more than she bargained for when, in the middle of the very crowded affair, Spencer Wallace turns up dead in Claire's pool. To make it worse, Claire herself is one of the most probable suspects - with means, motive, and opportunity to have committed the deed. But Wallace is a man with a past and a reputation - and there are far more than a handful of people with better reasons to wish him harm. Now, with time running short, it falls to Claire to figure out who is really responsible before someone else gets away with the crime and leaves her holding the bag.

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