novelist, son of Sir H. Read, educated at St John's College, Cambridge. His novels combine the psychological thriller and strong narrative with political questioning, a well‐travelled eye, Catholic apologia, and sharp analysis of the English class structure. They include Game in Heaven with Tussy Marx (1966), The Junkers (1968), Monk Dawson (1969), and The Professor's Daughter (1971). In The Upstart (1973) the son of a parson turns to crime and pursues a protracted revenge upon the aristocratic Yorkshire family which had humiliated him socially in his youth. Later works range widely, taking in settings in the Soviet Union (The Villa Golitsyn, 1982) and in post‐Soviet Europe (A Patriot in Berlin, 1995). His other works include Alive: The Story of the Andes Survivors (1974), his piece of reportage based on an air crash and the cannibalism of its survivors; The Templars (1999), a history of the Crusades; and a biography of Alec Guinness (2003).