Dot Meyerhoff Mysteries

Burying Ben

Book One


A floundering, sensitive young rookie cop steps into her office. She tries to help him, but after a few sessions he commits suicide.

Not a good look for a psychologist with a new job.

Needless to say, Dr. Dot Meyerhoff, newly minted police psychologist, is not only sad, she’s mortified. She’s already discovered counseling cops isn’t easy—that they’re uncommunicative men contemptuous of therapy.

But she didn’t expect to fail quite this badly.

Freshly divorced and in need of cash, she took the job even though she wasn’t quite prepared for it—especially for the irascible police chief, and the lack of respect throughout the department. Now she’s in danger of losing both the job and her license.

Because when a client commits suicide, people tend to blame the therapist. Including Dot herself. She’s beating herself up because she didn’t prevent it. But could she have?

She’s desperate to find out, and her quest takes her all over the small California town in which she finds herself. Luckily for the reader, sordid secrets spill out of closets in every neighborhood she visits.

For readers, Dot’s unconventional investigation strikes a balance between the intrigue of a page turner and the empathy of a satisfying talk with a beloved friend. Fans of Jonathan Kellerman will empathize with Dot’s plight, as well as devotees of Stephen White, Val McDermid, and Abigail Padgett—in fact, anyone who enjoys looking inside the minds of psychologists, as well as those who are looking for a good old-fashioned traditional mystery will love this low-key, thoughtful series.

“This fiction is so gutsy and emotionally anchored in real life that it will stay with you long after reading its final pages.”
—Hallie Ephron, New York Times best-selling author
“A deftly crafted novel of compelling complexity, Burying Ben is an inherently absorbing read from beginning to end and marks author Ellen Kirschman as a novelist of exceptional storytelling talent.”
Midwest Book Review
“Riveting, compelling and authentic! Ellen Kirschman’s been-there done-that experience makes this a real standout.”
—Hank Phillippi Ryan, Agatha, Anthony, and Mary Higgins Clark award winner
“In her first fiction work, Ellen Kirschman has created what most veteran authors only dream of―compelling characters in a tight-turning plot.”
—Mike Orenduff
“…. a heroine you’d want as a friend, and a tale so gripping it will keep you up at night.… cop fiction with soul.”
—Shane Gericke, best-selling author
“Just finished Burying Ben and must tell you what a thrill it was to read a crime story so original, so intelligent, so beautifully structured, so sensitive to so many different characters, so just plain good.”
—Reader Review

The Right Wrong Thing

Book Two


An unfair fight—gun vs. cellphone. A rookie cop shoots an unarmed pregnant teenager in a high-adrenaline situation. Her fellow officers call it “a good shoot”.

But the rookie, a young woman named Randy who is still on probation, is racked with guilt—and self-doubt.

Police psychologist Dr. Dot Meyerhoff’s job, however, is not to determine guilt, but to keep Randy from unraveling. After losing her very first police counseling case to suicide, Dot is working 24/7 not to lose another officer.

As one of only two women in the department—which is a whole other bag of cats—Randy’s unpopular. And Dot has to tiptoe through a testosterone-dominated culture, fraught with personal agendas, political agendas, and PTSD.

Ever insightful and empathetic, she walks a fine line between supporting her officers and staying out of their investigation—until she crosses it. And once she steps from “assessing state of mind” to “collecting evidence”, she’s never been so close to not coming home.

And at the moment, home’s a great place to come home to. The 24/7 demands of her job are straining her relationship with the kindest man she’s ever known. The department calls at the most inopportune moments, and she’s off like a prom dress in May. A good man won’t wait forever and Dot has to wonder—should he have to?

This psychological dance with good old-fashioned detecting will appeal to fans of Jonathan Kellerman, Stephen White, Val McDermid, Abigail Padgett, as well as to readers who admire all smart, thoughtful women sleuths.

“Kirschman, herself a psychologist who has served as a police department consultant, perceptively treats complex racial, feminist, personal, and political issues while providing intimate knowledge of cops’ shop procedure.”
Publishers Weekly
“Ellen Kirschman is one to watch… She…provides intimate knowledge of police procedures, sort of like ‘Law & Order’ on steroids. … I found enlightening―though disturbing―just how difficult is the life of a law enforcement officer, especially one forced to kill.”

“Those looking for a meaningful story forged against the backdrop of a relevant social construct will enjoy going on this adventure.”
Foreword Reviews

“Ellen Kirschman’s richly nuanced The Right Wrong Thing rings with authenticity. This fiction is so gutsy and emotionally anchored in real life that it will stay with you long after reading its final pages.”
—Hallie Ephron, New York Times best-selling author
“Riveting, compelling, and authentic! Ellen Kirschman’s been-there, done-that experience makes this a real standout. She gives readers not only a terrific story, but a chilling insight into the hidden dangers police officers face every day.”
—Hank Phillippi Ryan, award winning author

The Fifth Reflection

Book Three now available


Dot Meyerhoff’s job is to counsel cops, period. But a sensational kidnapping seems to be threatening the mental health of everyone in her town, including Dot’s own. She has a deeply personal and disturbing issue—her fiancé Frank’s a little too obsessed with the child’s mother—who just might be a whack job.

The mom is Frank’s photography teacher, well known for her nude photos of children. “Sensual, not sexual,” proclaims Frank.

“Erotic, bordering on pornographic,” argues Dot, particularly the one of the naked two-year-old who’s been kidnapped.

Already she’s in pretty unsettling territory, just knowing the danger the child’s in, and the anguish her client, the cop on the case, is going through. But in addition, Frank seems preoccupied with “being there” for the child’s mother, whom he describes as an extraordinary photographer and a wonderful teacher.

What Dot knows is that she’s exceptionally beautiful.

That could be enough to throw a police psychologist off her game, but Dot needs to stay alert—Manny Ochoa, her cop client, is at the breaking point, having worked the case around the clock for months, combing unsavory, disturbing videos and chatter. The kicker—Manny’s a new father who feels he’s failing the lost girl—and his obsession to find the kidnapper is undermining his mental health, his employment, and his marriage.

Dot understands that the only thing that will bring him peace is finding the kidnapper. So she’s determined to do it, despite threatening her own job by getting too involved. And despite the fact that the mother, whose Buddhist beliefs steer her away from the investigation, all but refuses to co-operate. Undeterred, Dot explores not only the exotic world of artist communes and bohemians, but the seedier side of town and the decidedly grittier side of police work.

Fans of psychology sleuths like Jonathan Kellerman’s Alex Delaware, Stephen White’s Alan Gregory, Val McDermid’s Tony Hill, and Caleb Carr’s Dr. Laszlo Kreisler will love Kirschman’s unique blend of twisty psychology, police procedure, and real-life issues. Dr. Dot will also appeal to cozy readers, police procedural fans, and all discerning readers who love a good traditional mystery.

“When Chrissy’s body is found, the pressure increases on everyone. Using her skills as a psychologist and then as amateur sleuth, Dot unmasks a surprising but unlikely team of bad guys.”
Publishers Weekly

“A deftly crafted and riveting read from beginning to end, The Fifth Reflection clearly reveals author Ellen Kirschman’s genuine flair for originality and mastery of the genre.”
MidWest Book Review

The Fifth Reflection is a shocking police procedural told through the eyes of police psychologist Dot Meyerhoff. Dot’s smart, tough, and dogged. Just the person I’d want on my side when seeking justice.”
—Matt Coyle, award-winning author
“Great mystery, interesting characters and dynamics…. a difficult subject sensitively handled.”
—Colman Keane, Col’s Criminal Library
“It’s clear that police psychologist Ellen Kirschman knows her stuff…. The writing is honest, the characters feel real, and the science is subtly planted… a tense, well-paced tale about human flaws, needs, and motivations.”
—Katherine Ramsland, bestselling author

The Answer To His Prayers

Book Four now available


A down-and-out, wheelchair-bound lonely man calls 911 from a trailer that’s just burst into flames. The tragic fire claims the man’s life. It seems like an accident until the cops find a few arguments against that theory. And another puzzler—the dispatcher seems to be keeping some dangerous secrets…

Police psychologist Dot Meyerhoff, on call to counsel police station employees, soon finds herself trying to help the traumatized dispatcher. But as the action-packed investigation accelerates, Dot can’t help but get drawn into an ever-expanding series of crimes seemingly orchestrated by the scariest prison mastermind this side of Hannibal Lecter.

As Dot helps track down the possible arsonist, she proves herself a sensitive yet doggedly persistent sleuth—even when ordered to mind her own business. The gripping case drags her through the seedy underbelly of her small town, and finally to the local prison. During a couple of risky trips to the lockup, she becomes reacquainted with the imprisoned puppetmaster, who also happens—coincidentally?—to be a menacing old friend…

Colleagues and friends keep warning her away from the ruthless and powerful criminal, which is excellent advice, right? If only good advice were easy to take…

The adventures of Dr. Dot strike a rare chord in the mystery genre: author Kirschman crafts emotionally intelligent and action-packed stories that will appeal equally to fans of traditional mysteries (especially British ones), discerning cozy readers, and all admirers of nosy women sleuths. Dot’s latest tale will especially delight fans of psychologist mysteries like those created by Jonathan Kellerman, Meg Gardiner, Val McDermid, and Jacqueline Winspear.

Sign up for my newsletter

Sign up and get a free copy of a mini-memoir of my brief career as a dance hall hostess as well as reading suggestions, cooking ideas, and modest mentions of my life as a writer.

Note: this is a private list—your email address will not be shared, and you can unsubscribe at any time.