Clarissa McNair, whose nickname is Cici, was born and grew up in Mississippi. She graduated from Briarcliff College in New York with a B.A. in American history.
In Toronto, she worked as a researcher for CBC-TV on a documentary about organized crime. Connections was given a standing ovation in the Canadian Parliament and won every possible award. In Rome, McNair was a news writer, on-air newscaster and producer of documentaries for Vatican Radio. Her main field of interest was the Third World. On weekends, she was the news anchor for WROM, a Rome television station. In Los Angeles, she worked for Kings Road Entertainment in several phases of film development including script re-writing.
While writing her first novel, Garden of Tigers, she was head of international publicity for a Los Angeles film company. Her second novel, Dancing with Thieves, was written in a fishing village on an island off the coast of Tuscany. McNair moved to Geneva to write her third novel, A Flash of Diamonds, which dealt with the world of private bankers and the Genevois.
McNair has traveled from the Canadian Arctic to Patagonia, from Haiti to Hong Kong and from Afghanistan to Algeria. She has spent time in the Middle East and a year in Africa.
A licensed private detective, she handles all sorts of cases including money laundering, intellectual property, missing persons, corporate malfeasance, stolen art recovery, rape and homicide. (See www.sleuthstar.com) She has worked undercover with the FBI, the Joint Terrorist Task Force and the Organized Crime Division of the NYPD.
Her memoir about becoming and being a female private detective is Detectives Don't Wear Seat Belts; several of her most recent books are in the true crime genre. See BOOKS page of this website. She has been published by Century Hutchinson, St. Martin's Press, Hachette, New American Library and Fedora Press in London and New York; Martinez Roca in Barcelona published one of her novels.
Cici McNair has been a panelist and has given talks at the International Women’s Writing Guild, at Hunter College’s First Annual Writer’s Conference, and at the Marymount Manhattan College Writer’s Conference, all in New York City. McNair has also spoken at events sponsored by the New York Public Library and by the Philadelphia Free Library. She has been a guest at private clubs and bookstores all over North America and in Paris, Rome, and Geneva; she has been a featured guest on more than 50 radio and television shows.
McNair is a member of the Author's Guild, Pen America, the Overseas Press Club, and Mystery Writers of America. She is a founding member and former vice president of Pen Florida. She recently resigned as deputy vice president of the Association of Foreign Press Correspondents in the United States.
In 2016, in Rome, she worked as international liaison for Italia Film Services. In 2017, in New York City, she was the executive producr of the Barry Farber (radio) Show.
As a foreign correspondent for World Radio Paris; she writes and produces Basic Black: vignettes of crime, scandal, and death which is broadcast daily in Paris and on the Cote d'Azure.
Clarissa McNair now lives in Palermo, Sicily, where she is writing a novel.