Barbara Jo Petry, a Texas author best known for writing a popular series of cozy mysteries, was struck and killed by an automobile on Feb. 18. She died a day later in the hospital at the age of 57.
Readers knew the Austin resident as Barbara Burnett Smith. Her five-book Purple Sage series featured the crime-solving adventures of Jolie Wyatt, a radio station reporter and aspiring writer. “Writers of the Purple Sage,” the book that launched the series, was nominated in 1994 for an Agatha Award for best first mystery novel. In addition, Petry penned the books “Bead on Trouble” and “Mauve and Murder.”
For two decades, Petry did vocal work in radio and television commercials. She also owned and operated Catalyst Training & Development, a company that provides communication and leadership classes to corporations, government agencies and non-profit organizations.
Petry and her husband Gary drove to San Antonio on Feb. 18, to rescue an Airedale. On the way home, the couple stopped at the Remember the Alibi mystery bookstore. Unexpectedly, the dog jumped out of the car and ran into traffic. The night was dark and rainy, and as Petry tried to save the animal she was struck and fatally injured by a passing car.