- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Joan Sweeney, 68, romance novelist

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Joan Sweeney, a former editor at the Los Angeles Times who later wrote Regency romance novels under the pseudonym Marlene Suson, died Jan. 22 at her home in Manhattan Beach, Calif. She was 68.

Miss Sweeney had long suffered from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s disease), the Times reported.

She turned out 17 novels over the years for Avon and Fawcett, selling as many as 100,000 copies each. Set in the stratified society of early 19th century England, her books were especially popular in Britain and known for their meticulously researched descriptions of the era’s clothing, customs and mores.

She was often as amused as others by the racy covers of such works as “Devil’s Bargain,” “Midnight Bride” and “The Lily and the Hawk.”

Miss Sweeney worked for magazines in New York City as well as United Press International in Los Angeles before joining the Times in 1971.

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