Ellen Byerrum is a novelist, playwright, and reporter, a former Washington D.C. journalist, and a graduate of private investigator
school in Virginia.
The Woman in the Dollhouse is her first suspense thriller. It introduces a young woman named Tennyson Claxton, whose mind seems to hold the memories of two very different women.
Ellen writes the Crime of Fashion Mysteries, starring stylish female sleuth Lacey Smithsonian, a reluctant fashion reporter in Washington D.C., "The City Fashion Forgot." Two of these novels, Killer Hair and Hostile Makeover, have been filmed. The latest in the series is The Masque of the Red Dress.
Her mysteries, thrillers, and ghost stories, as well as her new children's picture book, Sherlocktopus Holmes, Eight Arms of the Law, are widely available online and through many booksellers.
Photo of Ellen Byerrum © Joe Henson
Why is Lacey ruining Christmas?!
The holidays are a season of joy in Our Nation’s Capital, but fashion reporter Lacey Smithsonian learns there’s no room at the inn for the hungry and homeless.
Lacey is tangled up in a scandal called “Sweatergate,” the paper’s food editor is on a baking boycott, everyone seems to be mad at everyone else, and poor Lacey is (unfairly) getting blamed. When the office Grinch is brutally assaulted with a giant candy cane and a homeless child dressed in a stolen shepherd’s robe is the only witness, Lacey searches the snowy back alleys of D.C. on a rescue mission to keep a killer from ruining Christmas.
A Romanov princess died in this corset! Who wouldn't kill for it? Bloody tales of the execution of the Romanovs and the jewels they’d hidden in their clothing inspired my fourth Lacey Smithsonian mystery. Some say only three jewel-filled corsets were found on the bodies of the four Romanov princesses. What if the fourth corset had been stolen? A secret someone took to the grave, and that others would kill or die for? A lost corset full of priceless gems: the perfect mystery for an intrepid fashion reporter! Where is it now, a century later? And what if Lacey broke loose from Washington, D.C., to chase the news story of a lifetime? What if?
My bite-sized YouTube videos are full of useful, fun, sometimes snarky comments and advice about fashion, style, clothes, books, mysteries and writing. And whatever my readers ask me about. Some are based on my protagonist Lacey Smithsonian's "Fashion Bites" columns. Some are not. Join me at the link above.
Who in the world wants that beautiful red dress with the bad reputation?
Everybody! Fashion reporter Lacey Smithsonian has never seen such a gown: crimson, flowing, fabulous. And infamous. The actress who first wore it on stage died in it on the closing night of The Masque of the Red Death -- and she was playing Death. Burglary, assault and murder now seem to haunt this legendary gown like a ghost.
Who would want it enough to kill for it? Crazy theatre people? Costume collectors? Russian spies? Spycraft and stagecraft, shadows and deceptions lead Lacey and the Red Dress into a macabre dance with an assassin -- and a masquerade with death.
Lacey Smithsonian's journalism career is going nowhere fast.
She's collared killers, rescued homeless kids and recovered priceless jewels, but she's still stuck on the fashion beat in Washington, D.C., The City Fashion Forgot. So what's a savvy reporter to do? Take a private eye class! Learn to sleuth like a pro (like her boyfriend, Vic Donovan), and maybe she can land a more serious news beat.
But then she meets her crazy classmates, stumbles
over the haute-coutured corpse in the Jaguar, spends girls' night out at the gun range, and flunks Surveillance 101. All Lacey wanted
was a shot at a new beat! So why are people shooting at her? And can she hit the bull's eye before the killer shoots again?
Meet Detective Sherlocktopus Holmes!
The smartest octopus in the sea and his savvy starfish sidekick, Doctor Flotsam, search for young Sally's missing doll, thrown overboard by her naughty brother and then stolen by mysterious sea creatures. Holmes and Flotsam follow clues through the Shark Park, the Seahorse Races and finally Squid Row. There they face the devious squid known as Squid Pro Quo!
Told in clever rhymes and meter, this children's picture book also includes amusing rhyming definitions. Children six to ten and older will enjoy this colorful, imaginative mystery of the sea with Sherlocktopus Holmes.
I got a hot tip: The last velvet mill in Virginia was closing—in a week! I called the manager, said I was a reporter and mystery writer, and could I visit ASAP? He said, “Well, you could kill people a lot of different ways here...”
On their last full day of operations, we saw velvet everywhere, shimmering
in rolls, stretched on racks, being dyed in vats. Sadly, we saw workers losing their jobs and their small town's largest employer.
And we saw terrible ways to be injured or killed on the job. Some might even be—murder.
"Shot through velvet" calls to mind bullet holes through fabric, but it's also a term of art. Velvet can be “shot through” with threads of different colors. Turn it one way—only one color catches the light. Turn it again: Everything changes.
Like the mystery in this book.