Helen Grochmal was born and raised in a coal town until sent by the Great Society of the 1960s to a small private college. After graduation, she worked in the civil service to pay her way through an M.A. in English from Penn State and an M.L.S. in Library Science from Rutgers. Then she worked as a professional librarian for over 20 years, ending her career as an associate professor at a state university in Pennsylvania. She began writing in her 60s, a memoir at first, then fiction. MANNERS AND MURDER is her first published work.