Reviews from Lord Taylor of Glencoe
Simon’s Bookcase reviews many authors, contemporary and classic. Here, we remember the writers who have passed on since these reviews began.
Lionel Davidson was born in 1922 in Hull, Yorkshire, one of nine children of an immigrant Jewish tailor. He left school early and worked in the London offices of The Spectator magazine as an office boy. Later, he joined the Keystone Press Agency. During World War II, he served with the Submarine Service of the Royal Navy. His first novel won the Crime Writers’ Association’s Gold Dagger Award (the top prize for crime and spy fiction in Britain) as well as the Authors’ Club First Novel Award. As well as writing spy fiction, he wrote a number of children’s books under the pseudonym David Line. Lionel died on 21 October 2009 in north London after suffering a long illness. He was survived by his sons Philip and Nick.
, FRSL was born in 1946. She began writing in secret at the age of 14 and was best known for creating teenaged diarist Adrian Mole, which sold more copies than any other work of fiction in Britain during the 1980s. In her later years she suffered ill health, in part related to the diabetes she developed in the mid-1980s, and in her last years endured serious sight and mobility problems. Sue died at home on 10 April 2014 following a stroke, survived by her husband, four children and ten grandchildren.
“ “ , OBE was a satirical fantasy writer best know for creating the Discworld series. Pratchett, who has sold more than 85 million books worldwide in 37 languages was the UK’s best-selling author of the 1990s. Pratchett was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 1998 and was knighted for services to literature in the 2009 New Year Honours. In 2001 he won the annual Carnegie Medal for The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents, the first Discworld book marketed for children. He received the World Fantasy Award for Life Achievement in 2010. In December 2007, Pratchett announced that he was suffering from early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. He died at home on 12 March 2015, aged 66.
Harper Lee was an American novelist widely known for her novel To Kill a Mockingbird, published in 1960. It was immediately successful, winning the Pulitzer Prize, and has become a classic of modern American literature. The novel was inspired by the racist attitudes she observed as a child in her hometown of Monroeville, Alabama. Though Lee published only this single book for half a century, she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom for her contribution to literature. In February 2015, Lee’s lawyer released a statement confirming the publication of a second novel, Go Set a Watchman. Written in the mid 1950s, the book was controversially published in July 2015 as a sequel to To Kill a Mockingbird, though it has since been confirmed to be the first draft of the latter. Lee passed away in February 2016.