Cynthia E. Hurst is the author of the R&P Labs Mysteries, featuring five Seattle scientists with a talent for solving mysteries matched only by their ability to stumble over them in the first place. The Zukie Merlino Mysteries are a spinoff of these, with the main character first appearing in the R&P short story 'Halfbaked'.
Like her characters, Cynthia grew up in Seattle, then earned a degree in journalism and worked on several newspapers and magazines in the US and UK. The R&P books are based on her time spent in the small research lab where her parents both worked, and many of the R&P staff's projects are ones actually undertaken by the lab. The Zukie books were inspired by her Italian relatives. In both cases, the murders remain fictional.