crime novelist, born in Wolverhampton, brought up in Northern Ireland, and educated at the University of Sussex and the University of Alberta, Canada. He was admired for taking the crime genre into areas associated with literary fiction; his novels are characterized by their wit, pessimism, and strong sense of place, and explore the moral complexities of urban life and sexual behaviour. The Last Sherlock Holmes Story (1978) and A Rich Full Death (1986) are pastiche thrillers with historical settings. The Inspector Aurelio Zen books (Ratking, 1988; Vendetta, 1990; Cabal, 1992; Dead Lagoon, 1994; Così Fan Tutti, 1996; A Long Finish, 1998; Blood Rain, 1999; And The You Die, 2002; Medusa, 2003; and Back to Bologna, 2005) are set in Italy; here the forensic detail of the traditional detective story is rejected in favour of an examination of corruption, bureaucracy, and the complex manoeuvres of the detective's professional life. Dirty Tricks (1991) blends suspense and black comedy, while The Dying of the Light (1993) reworks the conventions of the country house mystery. Dark Spectre (1995) is the story of a murderous religious sect. See also Detective fiction.