Crime fiction reviewer Marcel Berlins dies, aged 77

Crime fiction reviewer Marcel Berlins dies, aged 77

Marcel Berlins, crime fiction reviewer at the Times, has died, aged 77.

The journalist and lawyer died on Wednesday 31st July after suffering a brain haemorrhage. He is survived by his wife Lisa Forrell and his stepson and stepdaughter. 

Author Barry Forshaw paid tribute to Berlins, saying: "I don’t have to talk here about Marcel being the doyen of British crime fiction critics (though he was French), writing for the Times for many years — all the many obits will talk about that. While what I will miss most was a friend of many years: wry, alert to all the arts and always immensely knowledgable."

Forshaw added: "The most distinguished of writers on crime fiction will be missed. Much missed, both for his personality and his championing of so many crime writers."

Berlins started her career at the Times as a legal correspondent in 1971. During his decade covering law, Berlins also wrote his first books including Caught in the Act with Geoffrey Wansell (Penguin, 1974), a study of young offenders. His weekly legal column later moved to the Guardian

Tributes were paid to Berlins on social media. Times literary editor Robbie Millen tweeted: "I shall very much miss my colleague, the mighty Marcel Berlins, crime reviewer of the Times for 37 years. . . A man of excellent taste and judgment."

David Allen Green, writer on policy and law at the Financial Times, said: "Sorry to hear of the death of the great Marcel Berlins, a wise legal commentator with a wonderful light touch. In those pre-internet days, his columns and articles were essential reading for following the actualité of law in action." 

Raven editorial director Alison Hennessey tweeted: "Incredibly sad to hear of the death of Marcel Berlins - he was a wonderful supporter of crime writers, and I am incredibly grateful for the lovely reviews he gave to some of my authors. Reviews - and reviewers - really do make a difference."