Before there was Sue Grafton, before there was Patricia Cornwell, mystery fans had Dorothy Uhnak.
Twice cited for bravery by New York City, Ms. Uhnak, a former New York City Transit and NYPD police officer traded in her badge for the pen in 1967.
Her first gripping novel, The Bait starring Christie Opara, won the 1968 Edgar for Best First Mystery. Opara had two more appearances, in The Witness and The Ledger (all are out of print, but may be available through Interlibrary Loan. Uhnak then Uhnak wrote several more titles, including the bestselling The Investigation and False Witness which added a political element -- the victim had ties to the PLO.
Ms. Uhnak was 76.