Sharan Newman is a medieval historian and author. She took her Master’s degree in Medieval Literature at Michigan State University and then did her doctoral work at the University of California at Santa Barbara in Medieval Studies, specializing in twelfth-century France. She is a member of the Medieval Academy and the Medieval Association of the Pacific.
Rather than teach, Newman chose to use her education to write novels set in the Middle Ages, including three Arthurian fantasies and ten mysteries set in twelfth-century France, featuring Catherine LeVendeur, a one-time student of Heloise at the Paraclete; her husband, Edgar, an Anglo-Scot; and Solomon, a Jewish merchant of Paris. The books focus on the life of the bourgeoisie and minor nobility and also the uneasy relations between Christians and Jews at that time. They also incorporate events of the twelfth-century such as the Second Crusade and the rise of the Cathars.
The Catherine Levendeur mysteries have been nominated for many awards. Sharan won the Macavity Award for best first mystery for Death Comes As Epiphany and the Herodotus Award for best historical mystery of 1998 for Cursed in the Blood. The most recent book in the series The Witch in the Well won the Bruce Alexander award for best Historical mystery of 2004.
Just for a change, her next mystery, The Shanghai Tunnel, is set in Portland in 1868. Newman has also written non-fiction books, including The Real History Behind the Da Vince Code (Berkley 2005) and the upcoming Real History Behind the Templars. Newman lives on a mountainside in Oregon.
Sharan Newman (born April 15, 1949 in Ann Arbor, Michigan) is an American historian and writer of historical novels. She won the Macavity Award for Best First Mystery in 1994.
Newman's father was a USAF captain; her mother was a psychologist. In 1971 she both graduated from Antioch College and married Paul Richard Newman, a physicist. She also gained a master's in medieval literature in 1973 from Michigan State University and then doctoral work in Medieval studies at the University of California at Santa Barbara. Newman lectures widely in medieval history and lives in Oregon.
Newman's first novels were a historical trilogy about Guinevere. Then she turned to mystery novels set in 12th-century France featuring Catherine LeVendeur, a novice in a convent run by Heloise - though she later leaves and marries.
Newmans début mystery, Death Comes as Epiphany, won the Macavity Award for "Best First Novel" in 1994 and was also nominated for the 1994 Anthony Award and the 1993 Agatha Award in the same category. The novel was also nominated for the 1994 Dilys Award for the mystery title of the year which the Independent Mystery Booksellers Association booksellers have most enjoyed selling.The Wandering Arm and Strong As Death also received nominations for Agatha Awards for "Best Novel" in 1995 and 1996 respectively.
Catherine LeVendeur series
- The Dagda's Harp (1976)
- The Shanghai Tunnel (2008)
- Defending the City of God (2014)
- Death Before Compline (2011)