There is a murderer amongst us! And she might be coming for you. She's 5' 3'', her hair color is known as blonde, but she calls it “lioness tawny”. She's also a YES Supervisor !

     (If you've seen this lady or have an idea of where she is please call the St. Louis Science Center immediately.) 


      ”I’ve always wanted to be a writer,” says Terris Grimes. Grimes is the award winning writer of three popular mystery novels and St. Louis Science Center’s new Senior Director of Operations, Schools, and Community Partnerships.  

     Grimes began her writing career by producing short stories . “I moved to writing mysteries because my favorite authors weren’t writing novels fast enough to keep up with my reading,” states Grimes. 

Terris Grimes is an award-winning author. Photo: Jerricka Cotton

     Her first book, Somebody Else’s Child, was written at the age of 40. That book earned Grimes an Anthony Award in 1996 for best first novel and best paperback. A year later,  Grimes was awarded a Chester Himes Award for the best African-American mystery book.  


     "In order to write a mystery you have to use a lot of scientific knowledge," Grimes  says.  


     She got her knowledge of  how to “kill people” by talking to experts. For her first book she to meet with a scientist at University of California at Davis, who educated her about “DNA and genomes” and how to use this knowledge to identify missing relatives.  For another book, Other Duties as Required, she talked to a doctor about burn victims and how to treat them.

     The main character of her mystery books, Theresa Galloway or T.G., has a lifestyle that is similar to Grimes in many ways. They both have two kids and were married. They also both worked for state governments.       Even her victims were familiar. “I picked certain people that I didn’t like as the murder victims,” she explains. “If the real life person asked me why they got killed in the books, I told them that I didn’t know that I had.” 

     Fame didn’t come easily to Grimes. “I was so scared [when I attended the Anthony Award ceremony] that I didn’t want to come down stairs to the banquet,” she recalls. When her name was announced as the winner, “it was one of my dreams come true,” states Grimes. 

      Her shyness may have started as a teen. She recalls that when she moved to California she spoke with a very different dialect than the other kids because she was from the south. It was difficult for everyone to understand her.

     Terris’s father, Terris McDuffie, also was famous. He was a major league baseball player when baseball was segregated. He played with the Newark Eagles in the Negro Leagues.

     Grimes joined the Saint Louis Science Center's Youth Exploring Science program because she enjoys working with teens and helping them grow and develop. " I think the YES Program is the best program I've ever seen,"states Grimes. "These teens have such a sense of humor and, if you let them, they will have you laughing all day."  

     She is in the process of writing another mystery book, called Smelling Herself, with the setting in St.Louis.  (And if you want one of her published books, they are available from

     Her advice to YES teens?  “To become a writer is to read! The more you read, the better you will be!”

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  1. Congratulations on your career. I am very interested in forensics, so I can’t wait to read your books. I was very impressed with how you took in interest in the accuracy of your books, and you learned all about what actually goes on. I really enjoyed your article.

  2. When I was reading the first paragraph I was thinking that we had a killer in St.Louis that was wanted by the police that couldn’t be found. But as I kept reading and I realized that it was the author that they were talking about. I didnt know that you can be taught on ways to kill people. I always wondered on CSI how they come up with different cases for ever episode. I’m interested in reading her new up coming book "Smelling Herself".

  3. I’ve read her book Somebody Else’s Child, and it made me want to write a book because I love reading and most of myb favorite authors also wait a long time to write new stories so im stuck reading the same story to get the similar rush from the first time I read it, but its never the same.:wah

  4. This article was very informative and amusing at one point. Overall I feel that the advice Ms. Grimes gave can most assuredly benefit any teen who’s dream is to become an author. I loved it. :smile

  5. Dear Terrace, happened upon your website by accident and want you to know my grandson, Kyle, (23) started working for a GAMES ELECTRONIC FIRM 3 days after graduation in Costa Mesa, two years ago, and after only one year was given a 25% raise! Remember, he published in your first publication MILKTEETH! YEAH!
    Be in touch. (I prefer eMails over anything, so we can get personal about our lives. Love, Patricia

  6. I really enjoyed reading this article. I found it interesting because I love to read mystery books. The title of the article is what made me want to read the article !