Linda Wolfe is an American journalist, essayist, and fiction writer. She is best known for her award-winning work, Wasted: The Preppie Murder, an investigation of the so-called "rough sex" killer, Robert Chambers. Critic John Leonard called Wolfe a writer of "fierce intelligence". Wolfe is also a distinguished book critic and a founding member of the National Book Critics Circle.
Wolfe's Wasted was nominated for an Edgar Award and named a "Notable Book of the Year" by The New York Times. In addition, Wolfe wrote several other books based on true crimes and events, such as Double Life: The Downfall of Judge Sol Wachtler. Her articles and essays have appeared in The New York Times, New York Magazine, Vanity Fair, Ladies Home Journal, Playboy, and several other publications.
Wolfe began her literary career in 1958 as an editorial assistant at Partisan Review alongside editors William Phillips and Philip Rahv. During her time at Partisan, Wolfe studied for a M.A. degree in American Literature at New York University and began research on what would be her first published work, The Literary Gourmet. This book would be one of the first to explore the ways and reasons the world's great novelists used dining scenes to illuminate character. In 1960 Wolfe started working for Time Inc., first in the copy department of Life Magazine, then as a researcher and writer for Time-Life Books, where she published her second book, The Cooking of the Caribbean Islands.
In 1971 Wolfe was asked by Clay Felker to write about food for New York Magazine and was soon named a contributing editor, a position she maintained for the next 25 years. From there Wolfe branched out to write about sexuality, social behavior, and crime, particularly about crimes committed by well-placed professional and academics. One of her better known articles is The Strange Death of the Twin Gynecologists, about twin New York Hospital physicians that were found dead in their apartment. This article would later help inspire the film Dead Ringers. Wolfe also twice served as a restaurant reviewer for New York Magazine in the 70s.
Wolfe also wrote about travel, starting an annual series called Island Travel that ran in New York Magazine from 1984 to 1994, as well as doing travel pieces for the New York Times, the New York Post, and Washington Post, among others.
Wolfe's interest in sexuality and social behavior would later lead to her writing Playing Around: Women and Adultery and The Cosmo Report: Women and Sex in the Eighties. Wolfe also wrote a profile named A Brief History of Alfred Kinsey, published as an introduction to the movie Kinsey as well as several articles for Playboy and Mirabella June.
Wolfe's book reviews have appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post. The Boston Globe, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the St. Petersburg Times, and elsewhere. Her involvement with the National Book Critics Circle began in 1976, the year it held its first Awards Ceremony. She served on the governing board from 1997 to 2002 and from 2005 to 2010. In 2011 she started a book review column for the website FabOverFifty.com.
Early life and education
Wolfe was born in Brooklyn, New York, and attended Antioch College and Brooklyn College, graduating from Brooklyn College in 1955. She received an M.A.from New York University in 1959.
Wolfe's first marriage was to the magazine editor and film publicist Joseph Wolfe. Her second marriage was to psychologist Max Pollack. She has one daughter and two stepdaughters.