Diana Norman, who also wrote historical thrillers as Ariana Franklin, passed away on Thursday after a lengthy illness. I'm a major fan of her work, particularly the medieval fiction she wrote under her own name. Fitzempress' Law and King of the Last Days (covered in my Reviews of Obscure Books series) demonstrated her admiration for the legal reforms of Henry II and her excellent dry wit. My personal favorite is Shores of Darkness, a twisty 18th-century mystery-adventure about royal intrigue, female pirates, and a young man's quest to solve his aunt's murder. Her Mistress of the Art of Death series brought her back to the early Plantagenet era in the company of Adelia Aguilar, a Salerno-trained physician and forensic specialist (for the 12th c).
I'm by no means through reading her novels though am saddened there won't be more. A stand-alone medieval novel of hers sold to Putnam for publication next year, though this may be the reissue of her first novel The Morning Gift. The headline from the BBC News article doesn't give her first name ("Barry Norman's novelist wife dies age 77"), which is unfortunate.
I also learned via Twitter that Leisha Kelly, a bestselling writer of inspirational historical novels, died in a three-car crash in western Illinois on Tuesday, along with her 16-year-old son. In her Wortham Family Chronicles, Kelly writes movingly of how two Midwestern families struggled to stay afloat during the Great Depression, telling her story from the viewpoint of many different characters. With The House on Malcolm Street, she'd just begun a new series set in 1920. Her website has more details on her books.