Crime fiction writer Ruth Rendell suffers serious stroke

Ruth Rendell, author of the 'Inspector Wexford' crime novels, has suffered a stroke

Ruth Rendell, 84, suffered a serious stroke last Wednesday, the Guardian reports. The author of more than 60 thrillers and mysteries is best known for her Inspector Wexford series.

The author remains hospitalized "in a critical but stable condition," according to a statement by her British publisher.

Her first Inspector Wexford novel, "From Doon With Death," was published in 1964; the most recent is 2013's "No Man's Nightengale." She has also written as Barbara Vine and published two dozen stand-alone novels. Her next book is completed and slated for publication in England in the fall of 2015.

L.A. Times reviewer Eugen Weber called Rendell "a master of the genre." Fellow writer Ian Rankin has said Rendell is "probably the greatest living crime writer," adding, "if crime fiction is currently in rude good health, its practitioners striving to better the craft and keep it fresh, vibrant and relevant, this is in no small part thanks to Ruth Rendell."

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