Cult Faction must sadly report that crime writer Ruth Rendell has passed away aged 85. She wrote more than 60 novels in a career spanning 50 years, her best-known creation being Inspector Wexford, which was turned into a highly successful TV series.
Rendall, one of Britain’s best-selling contemporary authors, also wrote under the pen-name Barbara Vine.
Born in Essex, she is credited with bringing a social and psychological dimension to crime fiction.
Her first Wexford book, From Doon with Death, was published in 1964, beginning a series of more than 20 starring Insp Reginald Wexford, played in the TV series by George Baker.
Many of her works were translated into more than 20 languages and adapted for cinema and TV, attracting worldwide sales of 60 million.
She was the author of more than 20 standalone novels, whose protagonists were often on the margins of society.
Her final novel, Dark Corners, is due to be published in October.
Rendall began her writing career as a reporter on an Essex newspaper. She was forced to resign after filing a story about a local sports club dinner without attending. Her report failed to mention that the after-dinner speaker had died half-way through the speech.
Rendall, whose writing brought her considerable wealth, was made a Labour life peer in 1997 and is reputed to have given generously to charity.
She was born Ruth Barbara Grasemann in 1930 in South Woodford to a Swedish mother and British father.
The author married Don Rendell, a journalist, in 1953, only for them to divorce 22 years later and remarry within two years. She is survived by their son.