Hodder & Stoughton has paid tribute to Jill Paton Walsh, following the author's death at the age of 83.
Paton Walsh wrote a string of novels and children's books, including the 1974 Whitbread Prize-winning The Emperor's Winding Sheet. Her self-published third novel Knowledge of Angels was shortlisted for the Booker in 1994 and she received a CBE for services to literature two years later.
In 1993 she published The Wyndham Case with Hodder & Stoughton, introducing her Cambridge detective Imogen Quy and starting a successful career with the publisher.
Hodder said: “An admirer of golden age crime fiction, she wanted to create an amateur detective and had the brilliant inspiration that only a profession such as ‘college nurse’ would make that idea plausible to a contemporary audience. She succeeded brilliantly and wrote four charming, believable and baffling mysteries for Imogen to tackle.
“Then the estate of Dorothy L Sayers asked us if we would be interested in commissioning Jill to finish Sayers’ last, unfinished detective novel. We were delighted to publish Thrones, Dominations in 1998. Modest to a degree, Jill was thrilled and surprised when the book was published to considerable acclaim and became a Sunday Times bestseller. Jill went on to write three more novels featuring Lord Peter Wimsey and his wife Harriet Vane, most recently The Late Scholar. She was working on a fourth this year.”
The publisher added: “Jill was a delight to work with. She had a gentle wit and was very good company. A visit to her home in Cambridge was always a pleasure. It was a privilege to publish her and she will be greatly missed.”