Lois Duncan (born Lois Duncan Steinmetz) was an American writer and novelist, known primarily for her books for children and young adults, in particular (and some times controversially considering her young readership) crime thrillers. Duncan's parents were the noted magazine photographers Lois Steinmetz and Joseph Janney Steinmetz. She was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, but grew up in Sarasota, Florida. Duncan started writing and submitting manuscripts to magazines at the age of ten, and when she was thirteen succeeded in selling her first story.
Duncan attended Duke University from 1952 to 1953 but dropped out, married, and started a family. During this time, she continued to write and publish magazine articles; over the course of her career, she has published more than 300 articles, in magazines such as Ladies' Home Journal, Redbook, McCall's, Good Housekeeping, and Reader's Digest. After her first marriage, which produced three children, ended in divorce, Duncan moved to Al
buquerque, New Mexico, to teach journalism at the University of New Mexico, where she also earned a BA in English in 1977. In 1965 she married Don Arquette, and had two more children with him.
Duncan was best known for her novels of suspense for teenagers. Some of her works have been adapted for the screen, the most famous example being the 1997 film I Know What You Did Last Summer, adapted from her novel of the same title. Other made-for-TV movies include Stranger with My Face, Killing Mr. Griffin, Don't Look Behind You, Summer of Fear and Gallows Hill.
In 1989 the youngest of Duncan's children, Kaitlyn Arquette, was murdered in Albuquerque, New Mexico, under suspicious circumstances. Who Killed My Daughter? relates the facts and conjecture about the still unsolved case.
Duncan's second book about her daughter's murder, ONE TO THE WOLVES: ON THE TRAIL OF A KILLER, picks up where the first book leaves off and contains all the new information Kait's family has uncovered from private investigation.
The 1971 children's book Hotel for Dogs was released as a theatrical movie in 2009, starring Emma Roberts. That book has now been republished by Scholastic along with two sequels, News for Dogs (2009) and Movie for Dogs (2010).
Duncan's Gothic suspense novel, DOWN A DARK HALL, is being filmed for the Big Screen and will probably be released in 2016.