novelist, short‐story writer, and playwright, born in London, educated at the Sorbonne in Paris and at the University of East Anglia. Her first novel, Sadler's Birthday (1976), was followed by Letter to Sister Benedicta (1979), The Swimming Pool Season (1985), and The Cupboard (1981). Her best‐known novel, Restoration (1989), is a historical novel in which Robert Merivel, the son of a glove‐maker and a student of anatomy, is taken up by Charles II but suffers the king's disfavour after he marries Celia Clemence, Charles's former mistress. Among her short‐story collections are The Colonel's Daughter (1984), The Garden of the Villa Mollini (1987), and Evangelista's Fan (1994). The Way I Found Her (1997), charged with adolescent eroticism, describes a hot summer day in Paris, seen through the eyes of a precocious thirteen‐year‐old boy. Music and Silence (1999) is set in the early 17th cent. and recounts the experiences of an English lute player at the Danish court. The Colour (2003) is an action‐packed account of the Gold Rush in New Zealand in the 1860s.