Edna Buchanan Biography

Journalist, Author (c. 1939–)
After winning a Pulitzer Prize for journalism, Edna Buchanan wrote a series of mystery novels featuring Miami reporter Britt Montero.


Edna Buchanan moved to Miami in the 1960s and became one of the first crime reporters for the Miami Herald. She covered the police beat for several years, and won a Pulitzer Prize for general reporting. In the late 1980s, she began to distill her experiences into books and novels. She found success with a series of mystery novels set in Miami, many of which feature reporter Britt Montero.


Writer, novelist, journalist. Born Edna Rydzik around 1939 in Patterson, New Jersey. Once a successful journalist, Edna Buchanan has become a leading mystery writer. Moving to Miami in the 1960s, she found work at a small community newspaper. Buchanan later joined the staff of the Miami Herald, becoming one of the first female crime reporters in the area in 1973. She covered the police beat, reporting on thousands of violent crimes during her time at the paper.

Edna Buchanan put her experience to good use in writing her first book, Carr: Five Years of Rape and Murder; From the Personal Account of Robert Frederick Carr III (1979). This work of nonfiction explored the life and crimes of a convicted serial rapist and killer. While this book failed to find an audience, Buchanan scored a huge success as a journalist in 1986, winning a Pulitzer Prize for general reporting.

The following year Edna Buchanan had a career breakthrough with The Corpse Had a Familiar Face: Covering Miami, America??s Hottest Beat (1987). This time she told her own stories, choosing the most interesting ones from her years as a reporter. The book became a best seller, and Buchanan took a leave of absence from her job in 1988 to focus on her writing career. She then followed up her memoir with a sequel of sorts, Never Let Them See You Cry: More from Miami, America??s Hottest Beat (1989).

Although her publisher was resistant at first, Edna Buchanan persuaded Random House to let her write fiction. The result was her first novel, Nobody Lives Forever (1990), a murder mystery set in Miami, which earned an Edgar Award nomination and had strong sales. Continuing to use her beloved Miami as a backdrop for her stories, she wrote Contents Under Pressure (1992), which introduced readers to Britt Montero, a dedicated and gutsy Cuban American reporter. Buchanan would use Montero as the lead character in a number of mysteries, most recently in The Ice Maiden (2002).

In her two latest novels, Cold Case Squad (2004) and Shadows (2005), Edna Buchanan has explored the work of detectives who tackle unsolved crimes from the past. According to an article in Publishers Weekly, she was inspired by an article she had written for the Miami Herald about this police unit and the technology they use to close old cases. ??We??re able to go into the past with Star Wars technology and solve cases,?? she said.

Married and divorced twice, Edna Buchanan lives in Miami.

Fact Check

We strive for accuracy and fairness. If you see something that doesn't look right, contact us!