Lois Duncan, young-adult fiction writer, dies at 82

Author Lois Duncan arrives at the premiere of the film "Hotel for Dogs" in Los Angeles in January 2009.
Author Lois Duncan arrives at the premiere of the film “Hotel for Dogs” in Los Angeles in January 2009.
(Chris Pizzello / Associated Press)

Lois Duncan, a prolific writer of suspense novels for young adults who also chronicled her decades-long inquiry into the unsolved homicide of her own daughter, has died. She was 82.

Albuquerque-based private investigator Pat Caristo said Thursday that Duncan had died at her home near Sarasota, Fla. Duncan’s husband announced on Facebook that she had collapsed in their kitchen on Wednesday.

Duncan was best known for suspense novels for young adult readers as well as children’s books that were among nearly 50 published titles. Her thriller “I Know What You Did Last Summer” and kids adventure “Hotel for Dogs” were turned into movies.

Duncan moved to Albuquerque in 1962 and taught magazine writing at the University of New Mexico. Her most personal writing chronicled the mysterious 1989 shooting death of her daughter Kaitlyn Arquette in Albuquerque as the 18-year-old drove home.

Duncan’s decades-long inquiry into that unsolved homicide was chronicled in two books, the most recent published in 2013. Albuquerque police categorized the killing as a random drive-by shooting. Duncan never stopped searching for a motive and the perpetrators, said Caristo, who assisted in the effort.


She said Duncan aided other parents whose children’s homicides were unsolved and helped create a research center for cold cases that evolved into the nonprofit Resource Center for Victims of Violent Deaths.

“There are hundreds of people who benefited from her caring that no other parent should have to keep asking that question, who killed their child,” Caristo said.

Duncan is survived by her husband, Don Arquette.


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