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Valerie Wilson Wesley

All in all, I wasn't sure what to make of the afternoon. I hadn't known exactly what I was looking for when I'd headed up there, and I wasn't sure what I'd found. Words that come so easily usually aren't worth the air it takes to speak them, and the answers I'd gotten from mother, daughter and even Brandon Pike had all been as smooth as an old pimp's rap

          — Devil's Gonna Get Him

Biography / Criticism

Valerie Wilson Wesley, an African-American writer, is the author of the Tamara Hayle Mystery Series, as well as other noted works. Wesley began her fiction writing career in her mid-40s and each novel has had its own success. In her mystery series, she tells about the rough streets of Newark, New Jersey, in the 1990s. With passionate, aggressive characters giving her works heart and body, her books are sure to keep the readers' attention and leave them asking for more.

If a good mystery is what you are looking for, Valerie Wilson Wesley's Tamara Hayle Mystery Series is your destination. With such amusing characters, it is hard to believe that they are just creations from Wesley's imagination. The diverse plots are enough to keep you reading from front to back cover and continue reading from book to book. If you can figure out the popular who-done-its by other authors, then you should try to take on a Tamara Hayle Mystery. Situations seem so real that readers will find themselves caught in the scenes of the story, hoping to solve a Tamara Hayle case. Every reader should solve the mystery of finding a great book by picking up one written by Valerie Wilson Wesley. Although Wesley writes about the Essex County area in New Jersey, she was born in Connecticut on November 22, 1947. As a child Wesley loved to write. When she played with her dolls, she made up stories for them. Wesley's favorite subject in school was English. Her favorite writers were Edgar Allan Poe and Agatha Christie. Also, her favorite mystery is And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie. Wesley graduated from a high school in Madrid, Spain. She then attended Howard University, where she earned her master's degrees from both the Bank Street College of Education and the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism.

permissions info

Valerie Wilson Wesley currently resides in Montclair, New Jersey, with her husband of twenty-eight years, noted screenwriter and playwright Richard Wesley (who is from the Newark area). Wesley gets all the regional information that she uses in her books from her husband. They have two daughters. One is now attending college, while the other lives in Los Angeles.

A recipient of the Griot Award from the New York Chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists, Valerie is currently the executive editor of Essence Magazine. Her first novel, Where Do I Go From Here?, was written in November, 1993 and has recently received the American Library Association's "Best Books for Reluctant Readers" citation. Unlike many African-American authors, most of Wesley's books have been translated and published in German. Therefore, she has an international readership. Currently Wesley is working on the sixth addition to the Tamara Hayle Mystery Series, which is sure to be as suspenseful and interesting as the first five novels. She plans to continue the series and hopes to have her works made into movies.

Selected Bibliography

Works by the Author

Works about the Author

Works in Languages other than English

Related Links

Tamara Hayle Home Site
Here you can find excerpts of each of her mystery books in the Tamara Hayle series. Also, you can view a biography of Valerie Wilson Wesley and other interesting concerns.

Prime Time is Crime Time
Unlike many African-American authors, Valerie Wilson Wesley has had some of her books translated and published in German. This site contains an overview of Devil's Gonna Get Him in German.

African American Literature Book Club profile on Wesley
Provides summaries of her novels.

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This page was researched and submitted by: Rosemarie Louise Brizak, Tiesha Renee Cooper, Rachel Elizabeth Feller and Wanda Michelle Raynes on 3/17/99. It was updated by Maria Zavialova on 12/5/04.