Novelist Rosamunde Pilcher dies, aged 94

Novelist Rosamunde Pilcher dies, aged 94

Bestselling novelist Rosamunde Pilcher, most famous for her hit book The Shell Seekers, has died at the age of 94.

The writer, who has sold 60 million books around the world, passed away at her home, on Wednesday 6th February, in Scotland following a stroke.

Her novelist son, Robin Pilcher, told the Guardian she had been in good health before Christmas but suffered from bronchitis in the new year. On Sunday night she suffered a stroke and never regained consciousness.

He said she was “a wonderful, rather alternative-thinking mother - I think she might have liked the description Bohemian - who touched and influenced the lives of many of all ages, not only through her writing but through personal friendships”.

Jamie Hodder Williams, c.e.o. of her long-term publisher Hodder & Stoughton, described Pilcher as “a one off – charming, trenchant, witty and powerful”.

He said: “She was enormous fun to spend time with, and Sue Fletcher her editor and Kerry Hood her publicist developed very close and long-standing bonds.  Her heartwarming novels about families and the places that mean most to them inspired generations of future writers.  She will be sorely missed but I hope millions more readers continue to fall in love with her work.

“Ros was the author of The Shell Seekers, Winter Solstice and several other chart-topping bestsellers, and she sold more than 60 million books across the world.  In Germany she was such a star that they arranged Ros Pilcher holiday tours to Cornwall, where much of her work was set.” 

Pilcher began her career in the 1940s, writing romance novels for Mills & Boon under the pen name Jane Fraser.  A Secret to Tell, the first novel under her real name, was published in 1955. Her profile rocketed thanks to 1987 bestselling family saga The Shell Seekers, which sold more than 10 million copies around the world and was later adapted for TV. Other hits included Coming Home and September. Winter Solstice, her final book, was published when she was 80 and topped the bestseller lists.

Pilcher married her husband Graham in 1946 and their marriage lasted until he died in 2009. Alongside Robin, the couple had another son, two daughters and 14 grandchildren.

Pilcher has sold 1.16 million books in the UK for £8.06m since 1998, the start of the Nielsen BookScan era, with Winter Solstice her bestseller, at 257,530 copies sold.