Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Michelle Cox  

Pen Name: None

Genre: Fiction

Audience: Adult;

Born: 1967, in Fayetteville, NC

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Illinois Connection

Michelle (Bonnet) Cox was born in Fayetteville, NC at the Fort Bragg Army hospital while her father, Walter M. Bonnet, served in the US Army. When Michelle was just six months old, the Bonnets returned to their hometown of East Dubuque, Illinois, which is where several generations of Bonnets have lived, starting with Peter Bonnet, Michelle's great, great grandfather, who immigrated to the area from Alsace-Lorraine in the the 1800's. Michelle attended St. Mary Catholic Elementary School in East Dubuque and Wahlert Catholic High School in neighboring Dubuque, Iowa. She then went on to Mundelein College in Chicago and graduated, summa cum laude, in 1990. Currently, she is married with three children and lives in the northern Chicago suburb of Grayslake. She writes a historical mystery/romance series set in the 1930s Chicago, as well as a weekly blog, "Novel Notes of Local Lore," which is dedicated to ordinary Chicago residents of the 1930s and '40s, now long forgotten.

Biographical and Professional Information

Michelle Cox is the author of the multiple award-winning Henrietta and Inspector Howard series as well as "Novel Notes of Local Lore," a weekly blog dedicated to Chicago's forgotten residents. She suspects she may have once lived in the 1930s and, having yet to discover a handy time machine lying around, has resorted to writing about the era as a way of getting herself back there. Coincidentally, her books have been praised by Kirkus, Library Journal, Publishers Weekly, Booklist and many others, so she might be on to something. Unbeknownst to most, Michelle hoards board games she doesn't have time to play and is, not surprisingly, addicted to period dramas and big band music. Also marmalade.

Published Works Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library

A Girl Like You: A Henrietta and Inspector Howard Novel
ISBN: 1631520164

She Writes Press. 2016

Henrietta Von Harmon works as a 26 girl at a corner bar on Chicago’s northwest side. It’s 1935, but things still aren’t looking up since the big crash and her father’s subsequent suicide, leaving Henrietta to care for her antagonistic mother and younger siblings. Henrietta is eventually persuaded to take a job as a taxi dancer at a local dance hall―and just when she’s beginning to enjoy herself, the floor matron turns up dead.

When aloof Inspector Clive Howard appears on the scene, Henrietta agrees to go undercover for him―and is plunged into Chicago’s grittier underworld. Meanwhile, she’s still busy playing mother hen to her younger siblings, as well as to pesky neighborhood boy Stanley, who believes himself in love with her and keeps popping up in the most unlikely places, determined to keep Henrietta safe―even from the Inspector, if need be. Despite his efforts, however, and his penchant for messing up the Inspector’s investigation, the lovely Henrietta and the impenetrable Inspector find themselves drawn to each other in most unsuitable ways.

A Ring of Truth: A Henrietta and Inspector Howard Novel
ISBN: 1631521969

She Writes Press. 2017

In this second book of the series, Henrietta and Clive delightfully rewrite Pride and Prejudice―with a hint of mystery!

Newly engaged, Clive and Henrietta now begin the difficult task of meeting each other’s family. “Difficult” because Clive has neglected to tell Henrietta that he is in fact the heir to the Howard estate and fortune, and Henrietta has just discovered that her mother has been hiding secrets about her past as well. When Clive brings Henrietta to the family estate to meet his parents, they are less than enthused about his impoverished intended. Left alone in this extravagant new world when Clive returns to the city, Henrietta finds herself more at home with the servants than his family, much to the disapproval of Mrs. Howard―and soon gets caught up in the disappearance of an elderly servant’s ring, not realizing that in doing so she has become part of a bigger, darker plot.

As Clive and Henrietta attempt to discover the truth in the two very different worlds unraveling around them, they both begin to wonder: Are they meant for each other after all?

A Promise Given: A Henrietta and Inspector Howard Novel
ISBN: 1631523732

She Writes Press. 2018

This third book in the Henrietta and Inspector Howard series provides a delightful romp through the English countryside and back.

Anxious to be married, Henrietta and Clive push forward with their wedding plans despite their family differences, made worse now by Oldrich Exley’s attempts to control the Von Harmons. When the long-awaited wedding day arrives, there is more unfolding than just Clive and Henrietta’s vows of love. Stanley and Elsie’s relationship is sorely tested by the presence of the dashing Lieutenant Harrison Barnes-Smith and by Henrietta’s friend Rose―a situation that grows increasingly dark and confused as time goes on.

As Clive and Henrietta begin their honeymoon at Castle Linley, the Howards’ ancestral estate in England, they encounter a whole new host of characters, including the eccentric Lord and Lady Linley and Clive’s mysterious cousin, Wallace. When a man is murdered in the village on the night of a house party at the Castle, Wallace comes under suspicion―and Clive and Henrietta are reluctantly drawn into the case, despite Clive’s anxiety at involving his new bride and Henrietta’s distracting news from home.

Delicately attempting to work together for the first time, Clive and Henrietta set out to prove Wallace’s innocence, uncovering as they do so some rather shocking truths that will shake the Linley name and estate forever.

Speaking Engagements

Speaking Engagement Availability: No.