Stephanie Plum

Stephanie Plum

Stephanie Plum is a fictional character and the protagonist in a series of novels written by Janet Evanovich. She is a spunky combination of Nancy Drew and Dirty Harry, and - although a female bounty hunter - is the opposite of Domino Harvey. She is described by the author as "incredibly average and yet heroic if necessary." [Citation| last =Gee| first =Eve Tan| title =CrimeTime interview with Janet Evanovich| url =| accessdate = 2007-07-16 ]

Evanovich claims the inspiration for Stephanie's character came after watching "Midnight Run" starring Charles Grodin and Robert DeNiro, adding, "If Mickey Spillane wrote Archie and Veronica, Stephanie would be Betty."Citation | last=White | first=Claire E. | title=A Conversation With Janet Evanovich | url = | accessdate =2007-07-16 ] As the series has progressed, Stephanie has become more stable and responsible, and a better bounty hunter. "But truthfully," Evanovich says, "Stephanie has stayed the same more than she’s changed." [Citation | title =An Interview with Janet Evanovich | url = | accessdate = 2007-07-16 ]

As of July 2008, Stephanie has appeared in fourteen full-length novels, three holiday novellas, and a short story in a compilation of various authors' works.

Character history

Janet Evanovich admits that Stephanie Plum's character is inspired by her own, in both history and "similar embarrassing experiences." Evanovich says, "I wouldn't go so far as to say Stephanie is an autobiographical character, but I will admit to knowing where she lives."

Like Evanovich, Stephanie originates from Trenton, New Jersey, the city where the series is set. [Citation | last =Hayward| first =Mike | title =Janet Evanovich discusses Twelve Sharp and much else | url = | date=2006 | accessdate = 2007-07-16 ] Stephanie grew up in the Chambersburg neighborhood known to locals as "the Burg", and - like Evanovich - attended Douglass College, [Citation | title =Author of the Month - Janet Evanovich | url=| accessdate = 2007-07-16 ] although Stephanie graduated "without distinction". The Burg is often portrayed in the series as a close-knit community, from which people rarely leave. Stephanie often finds former classmates and neighbors still living in the Burg, only a few streets away from their childhood home.

After graduation, Stephanie married Dickie Orr, then promptly divorced him after discovering he cheated on her with rival Joyce Barnhardt. Immediately before the first book, "One For the Money" begins, Stephanie is laid off from her job as a lingerie buyer, which propels her to blackmail her cousin Vinnie, owner of Vincent Plum Bail Bonds, into giving her a job as an apprehension agent or bounty hunter. She originally hoped to find a secretary job at the Bail Bonds office but the position was taken, leading her to want the bounty hunter position. Before she starts working for Vinnie she finds herself pursued for being delinquent with car payments. Stephanie's financial situation is still rather perilous, partially due to her poor financial skills, and she often finds herself seeking alternate ways to earn money in order to pay her bills.

When the series begins, Stephanie Plum is single and living with her hamster, Rex, in an apartment building with predominantly elderly neighbors. She revisits her parents who live several miles away in the Burg for meals, "family time," and pineapple upside-down cake. While Stephanie finds her family stressful, they often give her tips or connections which assist in her job.


Stephanie Plum briefly describes herself in the first chapter of each book, typically mentioning her Italian-Hungarian descent, fast metabolism, brown curly hair, and blue eyes. Evanovich originally envisioned Sandra Bullock as Stephanie in the movie adaptation of "One for the Money", and although the author is now considering Anne Hathaway, according to [ a poll on the official website] Bullock is still preferred by 61%.

Friends and colleagues


Lula was introduced as a minor character working as a hooker in the first book in the series, "One For the Money". In "Two For the Dough ", she becomes Vinnie's filing clerk and Stephanie's sometimes partner. Stephanie refers to her as a plus-sized black woman who attempts to shove a size 16 body into size 10 spandex. According to the [ reader poll on Evanovich's official site] , the favored actress to portray Lula is Queen Latifah. She reappears in later books after she begins to work as a file clerk at the bail bonds office. The other file clerk quit after Vinnie attempted to sexually harass her. Lula is a poor file clerk, who rarely does her job and frequently skips work in order to go with Stephanie to look for an FTA. It seems that the only reason she hasn't been fired is because she ignores Vinnie's sexual harassment and keeps him in his place.

Connie Rossoli

Connie is Vinnie's receptionist/guard dog. Her ties to the Mafia are hinted at but never fully explored. She is short and curvy with a hairy upper lip. Stephanie went to school with her little sister Tina.

Mary Lou

Mary Lou Stankovic is Stephanie's best friend. Married to Lenny Stankovic with children and a dog. Stephanie occasionally pays her a visit, usually to talk about Morelli. Maiden name is Mary Lou Molnar.

Vinnie Plum

Vinnie is the owner of Vincent Plum's Bail Bonds, where Stephanie is employed. He is also Stephanie's cousin, and he can barely tolerate his employees. He's rumored to have had a romantic relationship with a duck and is usually locked away in his office talking with his bookie; taking a snooze or have a conversation with his "Johnson".


Grandma Mazur

Grandma Mazur is Stephanie's maternal grandmother. In "Two For The Dough" her real name is Edna. She lives with Stephanie's parents' house ever since her husband died of heart failure. She is a woman unwilling to grow old, ever. Stephanie relates to Grandma Mazur more than any other member of her family. Beginning in "Two For the Dough", Grandma Mazur begins to tag along on cases with Stephanie, often pulling a gun out of her purse at inappropriate moments. Grandma Mazur also frequents the local funeral parlors because they are the social center of the neighborhood. She sometimes peeks underneath the casket lid to see the dead body, causing hysteria in the parlor. Grandma Mazur is also the official owner of Big Blue, a '53 powder blue Buick that men love and women hate. The car is virtually indestructible, and Grandma Mazur got it from Stephanie's Uncle Sandor. She moved in with Stephanie for a short periods of time during "Hot Six".

In several interviews, Evanovich says the inspiration for Grandma Mazur is "loosely based on my Aunt Lena and my Grandma Fanny," adding "She's who I want to be when I grow up." [Citation | last =Ward | volume= 9 | publisher = Crescent Blues | issue=1 | first =Jean Marie | title =Janet Evanovich: Delivering a Plum Good Read | url = | accessdate = 2007-07-16 ]


Valerie, Stephanie's older sister who moved to California after getting married, is mentioned briefly in the first six books as being the perfect daughter. In "Seven Up", Valerie moves back in with her parents after a failed marriage, her two daughters - Angie and Mary Alice - in tow. Angie is much like Valerie was at her age, and Mary Alice has a vivid imagination more like her Aunt Stephanie. In "Hard Eight", Valerie becomes bumbling lawyer Albert Kloughn's receptionist, and the two begin a relationship. In "Visions of Sugar Plums" Valerie becomes pregnant with Kloughn's daughter, whom they name Lisa. In "Eleven on Top", Valerie and Kloughn cancel their wedding after a stressful bout of wedding planning, but are eventually tricked into getting married in "Plum Lovin'" after Val gets pregnant with Kloughn's second child.

tephanie's parents

Her mother and father have the type of relationship built to last. Her father gets served first in exchange for getting to pretend he controls the house, and to keep him from stabbing Grandma Mazur with his fork. Her mother gets to cook and rule the house. Her mother thinks Stephanie should have a relationship like hers but Steph is skittish about marrying again. Her mother also wants Stephanie to get a nice, safe job and reminds her regularly, "They're hiring at the button factory!" Her father seems less concerned about Stephanie and her job.


Bob is a big golden retriever a cop acquaintance of Stephanie's conned her into dog-sitting in Hot Six. The owner never came back for Bob and the dog became a part of Stephanie's life. He currently lives with Joe Morelli and has been described as a big, orange bottomless pit. He'll eat just about anything and usually leaves big dog piles wherever he goes... which is why Stephanie likes to walk him on Joyce Barnhardt's lawn.


Stephanie's roommate/hamster. Spends most of his time sleeping or running on his wheel. Known to bite when scared or frightened.

Romantic relationships

Joseph Morelli

Joe Morelli is Stephanie's on-and-off boyfriend, former bad boy, now vice cop. Her history with Morelli started with a "choo choo" incident when she was six. At the age of sixteen, Stephanie lost her virginity to Morelli, in Tasty Pastry, behind the eclair stand, after which he never called (but left quite a few flattering messages in bathroom and stadium walls around town). Two years later she saw Morelli and ran over him with her father's Buick, breaking his leg. A few years later he was FTA and Stephanie chased him around town. Eventually she turns him in and clears his name. Their relationship has, since then, evolved into a on again, off again romance. In "Hot Six", they get engaged under pressure from their families, but call off the wedding in book seven.

When asked if Stephanie and Morelli will end up in a permanent relationship, Evanovich responds, "I don't want to tie Stephanie down to Morelli yet. Maybe some day, but certainly not for several more books."

Morelli and Stephanie have shared ownership of a big orange dog named Bob, who devours everything in sight. In "Hot Six", Stephanie is asked by one of Morelli's co-workers to babysit his dog, an arrangement that becomes permanent when the guy never returns. By "Seven Up", Bob had decided to move in with Morelli.


Ranger is Stephanie's fellow bounty hunter and tutor. Ranger loves Stephanie "in his own way" but isn't the marrying type. Ranger is Cuban-American, always wears black or camo green, and drives a rotation of very expensive black cars. Stephanie's relationship with Ranger, somewhere between boyfriend/girlfriend and teacher/pupil, provides much of her day-to-day stress, along with the almost constant threat of car bombing. He sometimes lends a hand with some of the more dangerous or slippery FTAs (an acronym for Failure-To-Appear in court). He often assigns employees to guard or track her when she is in serious danger. Ranger "bleeds money" every time Stephanie requires protection, which is frequently; she appears as a line item in his budget (under "entertainment"). He is the C.E.O. of RangeMan, Inc. In some of the later novels, Stephanie moonlights for RangeMan during safety or financial dilemmas. As revealed in "Two for the Dough", Ranger's real name is Ricardo Carlos Manoso, and in High Five that he has a daughter named Julie. Julie's mother is named Rachel; Ranger got her pregnant one night when he was in the military and on leave. When Rachel got pregnant, Ranger married her and gave the baby his name and financial support. The two were divorced when the baby was born.


Diesel appears in the three holiday Novellas, Visions of Sugar Plums, Plum Lovin', and Plum Lucky. Although not nearly as significant as Morelli and Ranger, he and Stephanie share a mild flirtation. He has special abilities and his job is to track down fugitives with supernatural abilities, called Unmentionables. He is presumed to only pop up every once in a while in Stephanie's life, and doesn't seem to know about Morelli or Ranger. Although, in Plum Lucky, when Stephanie mentions Diesel to Ranger, Ranger shows irritation and when asked if he doesn't like Diesel, he simply says,"We don't hang out together." Stephanie has made it clear that she is not looking for a relationship (already possessing a boyfriend, whom she is "practically married" "Twelve Sharp" to, and another, even more mysterious man in her life, whom she has admitted she loves.)


Joyce Barnhardt

Joyce is Stephanie's arch rival. She has picked on Stephanie ever since grade school, and still is an object of contempt after Stephanie caught her cheating with Dickie Orr, Stephanie's then-husband. Joyce also occasionally sleeps with Vinnie, who likes to spank her and make her bark like a dog. In turn Vinnie gives her a few cases to capture.

Dickie Orr

Dickie Orr is Stephanie's ex-husband. Marrying him was known as one of her stupid choices. Not even a year after they got married, Stephanie divorced him after finding him cheating on her with Joyce Barnhardt on her dining room table. The divorce was not at all friendly, and they stopped talking to each other. Dickie appears every once in a while in some of the books.

Grandma Bella

Joe Morelli's grandma. She tends to be a little kooky at most. She gives Stephanie the "eye" and likes to make predictions about Stephanie's future, especially with Morelli. Though her visions are normally morbid, there have been times, specifically in "To the Nines", when Grandma Bella has been kind to Stephanie in her visions, telling her that she would not die until she was very old.

Minor Characters


Walter "Moon-Man" Dumphy went to high school with Stephanie, where he was considered the class stoner. He has made appearances in "Hot Six" and "Fearless Fourteen". In "Hot Six", the Mooner lives with another man named Dougie, who sells hijacked goods topeople. He is known as a "Trekkie", hosting a Star Trek party which is ruined when Stephanie tries to arrest a man dressed as Captian Kirk. In "Fearless Fourteen", Moon-Dawg appears as a character who plays an online video game called "Minion Fire" with Morelli's distant cousin, Mario (who is known as "Zook"), and Grandma Mazur ("Scorch") and her friends.

ally Sweet

Salvatore Sweet is a cross-dresser who first appears in "Four to Score" as a person who solves word puzzles for one of Stephanie's cases. At this time, he is part of a transvestite rock band called "The Lovelies". He joins Stephanie and Lula during a takedown, which doesn't go as planned. He helps Valerie and Albert Kloughn plan their wedding during "Ten Big Ones" and "Eleven on Top", during which time he also drives a school bus. He saves Stephanie from the Commstalk Street Slayers at the end of "Ten Big Ones", shooting down or running over most of the gang members with an UZI.


Sally's roommate during "Four to Score", Sugar, who is also a transvestite, is attempting to make Sally his boyfriend, but Sally is more interested in Stephanie's job. Sugar turns out to be the antagonist. Sugar missed Stephanie with five shots as they were running around two garbage cans. They ended up fist-fighting in a senior citizens' home.

Carl Costanza

Carl Costanza, a Trenton cop, grew up in the same neighborhood as Stephanie. He's usually called in when Stephanie blows up a car or finds a dead body.


Tank is Ranger's right-hand man. He's pure muscle, and starting in "Twelve Sharp", he starts going out with Lula. By "Fearless Fourteen", Lula and Tank are engaged.

Joe Juniak

Juniak was once a Trenton police officer, but during the series he has been mayor of Trenton. He was running for a state position as well.

Mrs. Bestler

Mrs. Bestler is a senior citizen that lives in Stephanie's building. She enjoys playing "Elevator Operator" and she sometimes forgets where she lives.

Dillon Ruddick

Dillon is the building supervisor at Stephanie's apartment building. He lives in the basement, and on numerous occasions, he has helped Stephanie take care of her unit in exchange for a six-pack.

Constatine Stiva

Stiva owned his own funeral parlor, known as the best in the Burg. The original building burned down after Stephanie and Grandma Mazur were cornered by Kenny Mancuso and his goons in "Two for the Dough". In "Eleven on Top", Stiva acts as his son, who died in the fire. He causes Stephanie to burn down the Cluck-in-a-Bucket that she was working at, and after the book is replaced at the funeral parlor by two homosexual men.

Car Death

Plum is infamous for destroying cars, for which she has been dubbed the "Bombshell Bounty Hunter" in the local paper. Over time, Plum has had to resort to taking a truck with a bad radiator, a mismatch of two cars called a Rollswagon, and most frequently, her Uncle Sandor's seemingly indestructible powder blue '53 Buick Roadmaster, aka "Big Blue" that now belongs to Grandma Mazur. This car is based on the car on which Evanovich learned to drive. Stephanie has also blown up a funeral parlor, a fast food restaurant, a house, and several empty warehouses.


*One for the Money: Joe Morelli, Clarence Sampson, Lonnie Dodd, William Earling;
*Two for the Dough: Kenny Mancuso;
*Three to Get Deadly: Moses "Uncle Mo" Bedemier;
*Four to Score: Maxine Nowicki, Norvil Thompson;
*High Five: Randy Briggs;
*Hot Six: Carol Zabo, Carlos "Ranger" Manoso, Lenny Dale;
*Seven Up: Eddie DeChooch;
*Hard Eight: Andy Bender; Martin Paulson
*Visions of Sugar Plums: Sandy Claws;
*To the Nines: Samuel Singh;
*Ten Big Ones: Sally Sweet;
*Eleven on Top:;
*Twelve Sharp:;
*Plum Lovin': Annie Hart;
*Lean Mean Thirteen:;
*Plum Lucky:Billy Major;
*Fearless Fourteen:;
*FTAs mentioned but not apprehended within a book: Jesus Rodriquez


* cite book
first = Janet | last = Evanovich
title = Three to Get Deadly
year = 1997

* cite book | first = Janet | last = Evanovich | title = Four to Score
year = 1998

* cite book
first = Janet | last = Evanovich
title = High Five | year = 1999

* cite book
first = Janet | last = Evanovich
title = Hot Six | year = 2000

* cite book
first = Janet | last = Evanovich
title = Seven Up | year = 2001

* cite book
first = Janet | last = Evanovich
title = Hard Eight
year = 2002

* cite book
first = Janet | last = Evanovich
title = Visions of Sugar Plums
year = 2003
"A short Christmas special."
* cite book
first = Janet | last = Evanovich
title = To the Nines
year = 2003

* cite book
first = Janet | last = Evanovich
title = Ten Big Ones
year = 2004

* cite book
first = Janet | last = Evanovich
title = Eleven on Top
year = 2005

* cite book
first = Janet | last = Evanovich
title = Twelve Sharp
year = 2006

* cite book
first = Janet | last = Evanovich
title = Plum Lovin'
year = 2007

* cite book
first = Janet | last = Evanovich
title = Lean Mean Thirteen
year = 2007

* cite book
first = Janet | last = Evanovich
title = Plum Lucky
year = 2008

* cite book
first = Janet | last = Evanovich
title = Fearless Fourteen
year = 2008

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