Geoffrey Household, the prolific novelist whose “Rogue Male” and “A Watcher in the Shadows” have been hailed as classics of adventure suspense, has died, his family announced in London on Thursday. He was 87.
Household, who lived near Banbury 65 miles from London, died Tuesday, his family told the Associated Press. No cause of death was given.
In World War II, the writer served as a British commando in Romania and later as an intelligence officer in Greece, Palestine, Syria and Iraq.
He said the “Rogue Male” story line about a big game hunter who sets out to kill Adolf Hitler came to him because “the man had to be dealt with, and I began to think how much I would love to kill him.”
The story, published in 1939, finds the English sportsman caught and tortured. He escapes but spends the rest of the book dodging Nazis. The best-selling novel became the subject of two films, “Man Hunt” in 1941 starring Walter Pidgeon and the lesser-known remake, “Rogue Male” in 1976.
The writer, who was educated at Oxford University, traveled and worked at various jobs in Europe, the Near East, South America and the United States. He used the impressions he culled on his trips as fodder for his novels.
He began writing when a magazine financed him to write his 1937 novel “The Third Hour.”
His first book of short stories, “The Salvation of Pisco Gabar,” appeared in 1938.
He resumed writing after the war, producing straightforward adventure stories with titles such as “A Rough Shoot,” published in 1951, and “A Watcher in the Shadows,” in 1960.
He also tried his hand at picaresque romances, children’s books, stories about the supernatural and an autobiography, “Against the Wind,” published in 1958. The New York Times called the latter a “revealing book, warm with memories and glowing with humor and humility.”
Among his last works was “Arrows of Desire,” published in 1986, a futuristic account set 700 years after what Household dubbed The Age of Destruction. In it England has become a remote and insignificant outpost for a ruling Euro-African Federation.