novelist, short‐story writer, and critic, born in Switzerland, and brought up there and in India. He was educated at Balliol College, Oxford. Several of his novels have foreign settings, notably Japan and Greece, and are marked by a cool and ironic detachment, close analysis of human motivation, and an unobtrusive technical elegance. They include To the Dark Tower (1946), The Dividing Stream (1951), The Widow (1957), The Custom House (1961), Flights (1973), The Action (1979), and Prodigies (2001). Act of Darkness (1983) is a psychological thriller, set largely in India. The Nick of Time (2003) describes the comic adventures of a charming Albanian conman. Volumes of short stories, which show the influence of Chekhov and K. Mansfield, include The Brighton Belle and Other Stories (1968) and Hard Feelings and Other Stories (1976). He has also written travel books, and a study of E. M. Forster, to whose work his own bears some similarity. Yesterday Came Suddenly (1993) is a volume of autobiography.