According to the Post and Courier, local author Dorothea Benton Frank died on Mon. Sept. 2, after a brief illness, MDS, a cancer similar to leukemia.

Frank’s family originally posted that she was in the hospital on her social media accounts last month, asking for good wishes and privacy.

There will be a service in Montclair, New Jersey and one in South Carolina, with dates to be determined.

A New York Times bestselling author of 20 novels — including her Lowcountry Tale series, set in and around Charleston — Frank’s latest book, Queen Bee, debuted this May, joining her other works on that NYT list.

Born and raised on Sullivan’s Island, in recent years Frank split her time between the island and New York. Her dedicated readers loved her references to Lowcountry spots — as she told us in a 2010 interview. Frank was a many-time winner of City Paper‘s Best of Charleston Best Local Author award.

Frank’s fans were so numbered that they even held a fan fest this past April, featuring Charleston-centric events from a downtown walking tour to a jazz cruise on the Carolina Queen.

Why were people so besotted with Frank? Perhaps, it’s because, as fellow Lowcountry author Pat Conroy once said, “Her books are funny, sexy, and usually damp with sea water.”

Or perhaps it’s just what Frank said in that 2010 City Paper interview: “I have this theory that I think everybody secretly wants to be Southern, because being Southern is authentic.” 

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