Margaret Maron, whose novels set in New York and North Carolina delighted mystery fans for 40 years, died Tuesday at the age of 82, the Charlotte Observer reports.

Maron, a North Carolina native, made her literary debut in 1981 with One Coffee With, the first novel in a series that followed a troubled New York police lieutenant named Sigrid Harald. Nine more books in the series would follow, including Death in Blue Folders, Baby Doll Games, and Take Out.

In 1992, she introduced readers to North Carolina judge Deborah Knott, the hero of the Edgar Award–winning novel Bootlegger’s Daughter. Knott would be the protagonist of 19 more novels, including Shooting at Loons, Up Jumps the Devil, and The Buzzard Table.

In a 2017 interview with Publishers Weekly, Maron said she was probably done with writing novels, but still had stories to tell.

“There are so many other things I want to do,” she said. “I want to linger over lunch with my husband of almost 60 years. Read all the books on the lists I’ve been compiling for so long.”

Maron’s admirers paid tribute to her on social media. Author Sara Paretsky tweeted, “It was distressing to learn of Margaret Maron’s passing secondhand from Twitter. We grew up together in the mystery world, became friends as [mystery literature organization Sisters in Crime]began. Her insights and calm way of presenting arguments and info were a good ballast for my more intense personality.”

And editor Kristen Weber wrote, “Sad to hear about Margaret Maron. She was one of the first authors to embrace me as her new editor after Mysterious Press lost Sara Ann Freed. She didn't have to...that was such a gift for a young editor. She was so kind, lovely, funny, and fierce.”

Michael Schaub is a Texas-based journalist and regular contributor to NPR.