Michael Gilbert, universally regarded as the master of the classic English murder mystery", died Friday, February 8, in England.
A fantastically prolific writer who penned his mysteries on his commute to and from his full-time job as an English solicitor, Gilbert reveled in intricate plots, meticulous detail, and a web of red herrings. His first novel, Close Quarters (1947), launched him firmly into the golden age of the British mystery.
Gilbert's beloved character, Patrick Petrella, was a Sergeant when he first appeared in the 1950s in short stories in Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine. Petrella worked his way through the ranks to Detective Superintendent in a series of titles, including Young Petrella, Petrella at Q, and Roller-Coaster.
Mr. Gilbert, who was 93 when he died, had served at one point as legal adviser to Raymond Chandler.