Daoma Winston Strasberg, 90, a Washington author who produced almost 70 mystery and romance novels during a writing career that spanned more than four decades, died April 1 at her home in Washington. She had chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, said family friend Michael Mosettig.
Mrs. Strasberg, who worked under her maiden name, Daoma Winston, wrote some science fiction, but concentrated primarily on historical novels, many of which were set in her native Washington.
Her stories were mostly about the lives of ordinary people in historic settings, stories that tended to revolve around households and families, often focusing on a strong woman as the protagonist. Her novels included adventure, suicide, adultery, conspiracy, murder, insanity, and betrayal.
Her best-known Washington-based novel was perhaps The Haversham Legacy (1975). Beginning on the night of Abraham Lincoln's assassination, the adventure-romance unfolds against a backdrop of post-Civil War Washington and the presidency, impeachment and trial of Andrew Johnson.
Other novels dealt with political intrigue in Maryland in the late 1890s and life on a North Carolina plantation immediately before the Civil War.
A commentary on her work published in the 1994 edition of Twentieth-Century Romance and Historical Writers noted that Mrs. Strasberg used "times and events as 'set decoration' against which to place her characters. She is adept at painting detailed word pictures of the dress, homes, furnishings, possessions, and the demeanor of her men and women."
Mrs. Strasberg "was always very clear that writing was something she just had to do," said Karen Roberts, a cousin of the author's late husband's.
Several of the novels were set in Taos, N.M., which was Mrs. Strasberg's second home for several decades beginning in the 1950s.
"I tell aspiring writers who ask me, first of all, to read, read, read," Mrs. Strasberg told the Contemporary Authors reference work. "Then to write only what they themselves most enjoy reading. And thirdly, to make a habit of writing every single day, even if it's only a few words."