I was saddened to hear that Diana Norman has died aged 77, although slightly nonplussed that the BBC website felt they had to identify her as 'Barry Norman's novelist wife'! Diana was one of the guests at the first Readers Weekend I organised back in 2002 and a speaker at a Guildford Book Festival Readers Day in 2009. On both occasions she arrived looking slightly unsure of why she was there and proceeded to captivate both audiences.
Back in nb8 we were fortunate enough to feature A Catch of Consequence, published under her own name, and in nb56 Relics of the Dead in the pen name of Ariana Franklin - both were rollocking good historical thrillers.
Mr Norman said his wife, who died at home on Thursday, had been seriously ill and had spent time in hospital. The couple met while working as journalists on London's Fleet Street, marrying in 1957. Her first book, Mistress of the Art of Death, received a prize from the Crime Writers' Association and others included Pirate Queen, King of the Last Days and The Morning Gift.