Melodie Johnson Howe was born and grew up in Los Angeles. At the age of twenty-one she did a screen test for Universal Studios and became a professional actress. After spending many years in Hollywood, acting alongside such stars as Clint Eastwood, James Caan and Alan Alda, she quit acting to pursue her love of writing. Her first mystery novel The Mother Shadow was published by Viking in 1990. A sequel, Beauty Dies, was published by Penguin in 1996. City of Mirrors was first published in the United States in 2013.