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Shirley Murphy grew up in southern California, riding and showing the horses her father trained. She attended the San Francisco Art institute, and later worked as an interior designer while her husband attended USC. “When Pat finished school, I promptly quit my job and began to exhibit paintings and welded metal sculpture in the West Coast juried shows.” Her work could also be seen in many traveling shows in the western States and Mexico. “When we moved to Panama for a four-year tour in his position with the U. S . Courts, I put away the paints and welding torches, and began to write.” After leaving Panama, they lived in Oregon, Atlanta, and northern Georgia before returning home to California when Pat retired as Chief U.S. Probation Officer for the Northern District of Georgia.
Murphy’s eighteen Joe Grey mysteries were preceded by the popular "The Catswold Portal" and, earlier, some fourteen children’s books and several young adult fantasies that are now available as ebooks. Among her awards are five Council of Authors and Journalists awards, plus eleven awards for best novel of the year for the Joe Grey books from the national Cat Writers Association. She and her husband Pat J. J. Murphy recently collaborated on "The Cat, the Devil and Lee Fontana," a new feline adventure that ties into the Joe Grey series.