She grew up in Edina, but spent years in the Los Angeles-area writingthrillers about plants.
Novelist Elizabeth Stromme, who grew up in Edina and who wrote about the threats to plant diversity in a crime-novel setting, died of gastric cancer in Guerneville, Calif., on Dec. 7.
Stromme, who also was a gardening columnist, was 59.
"She saw her work as a challenge to the establishment," said her sister Karen Christensen, of Piedmont, Calif. "She had strong convictions about biodiversity."
Stromme graduated from the Northrup Collegiate School in Minneapolis, now Blake School. As a girl, she played a lot of sports, including tournament tennis around the Twin Cities.
After graduating from the University of Minnesota in the late 1960s, she traveled the world, soon meeting her husband, Philippe Garnier.
After college, "she got busy being a rebel," said her husband, of Echo Park, Calif. Later, he said, "she fell into her career." After several years of writing advertising copy in the 1970s, she turned to fiction writing and lived for years in the Los Angeles area.
When published in the United States in 2003, her noir novel, "Joe's Word," which was set in Echo Park, won praise from the New York Times for its "wry wit" and "amused affection" for the neighborhood. It had been published in French seven years before it came out in English.
Philippe, who oversaw the translation of her work, said she had a political mind. "She was applying that to the subject that interested her," he said.
Her first novel, "Against the Grain," was a thriller about seeds and agribusiness. Her latest, an unpublished thriller, "Plunder in the Grass," is set in a botanical garden.
In addition to her husband and sister, she is survived by another sister, Christine Schaefer, of Denver. Services will not be held.