Ann Rae Stackhouse was born on Oct. 22, 1931, in Lowell, Michigan. Her father, Chester R. Stackhouse, known as Stack, was a college football, basketball and track and field coach who took jobs all over the country, relocating the family again and again.
Her mother, the former Sophie Hansen, taught special education. The family moved often as “Stack” Stackhouse’s coaching career bloomed.
They lived in Saginaw and Ann Arbor, Michigan, and Coatesville, Pennsylvania, Salem, Oregon, Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania, and Palo Alto, California. Ann has been a full-time true crime writer since 1969.
Over the past 30 years, she has published 33 books and 1400 articles, mostly on criminal cases.
Ann graduated from Coatesville High School, and has a BA from the University of Washington in Creative Writing, with minors in psychology, criminology and penology.
She has an Associate Degree from Highline Community College, taking courses in crime scene investigation, police administration, crime scene photography and arrest, search and seizure. And she has a Master’s Degree in Compassionate Letters from Willamette University.
Ann’s daughter, Leslie Rule, is also an author. Leslie’s books are Whispers from the Grave, Kill Me Again Coast to Coast Ghosts-True Stories of Haunting across America, Ghosts Among Us, When the Ghost Screams-True Stories of Victims Who Haunt, Ghost in the Mirror and her latest, Where Angels Tread-Real Stories of Miracles and Angelic Intervention.
Eight of Ann’s books have been made into TV movies, and five more are in the works.
She won the coveted Peabody Award for her miniseries, Small Sacrifices, and has two Anthony Awards from Bouchercon, the mystery fans’ organization.
She has been nominated three times for Edgar Awards from the Mystery Writers of America.
She was also awarded the Washington State Governor’s Award. Ann is active in support groups for victims of violent crimes and their families, in programs to help battered and abused women, and support groups for children caught in traumatic living situations.
Her books, all of which were bestsellers and according to her publishers remain in print, largely drew on true crime cases around Washington State and the Pacific north-west.
They include Small Sacrifices, about the Oregon child killer Diane Downs, and her most recent book, Practice to Deceive, about a murder on Whidbey Island.
The author had five children. In April, her two sons Michael and Andrew were charged with forging the elderly author’s signature on cheques to them worth over $100,000, and demanding money while she “cowered in a wheelchair”.
As a child, Ann was surrounded by relatives in law enforcement: two sheriffs, a prosecuting attorney and a medical examiner. On summer vacations in Stanton, Mich., where her maternal grandparents lived in the building that housed the county jail, she helped her grandmother prepare meals for the prisoners.
Her latest book, “Practice to Deceive,” about a 2003 murder on Whidbey Island, Wash., was published in 2013.
Ms. Rule, who lived in Normandy Park, Wash., is survived by her daughters Leslie Rule, a writer of paranormal crime nonfiction, and Laura Harris; her sons Michael and Andrew Rule and Bruce Sherles; and seven grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.