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Best-selling British crime writer Ruth Rendell, 85, dies.

Best-selling British crime writer Ruth Rendell, who wrote over 60 books in a career spanning five decades, has died at the age of 85, her publisher has confirmed.

Rendell suffered a stroke in January and had been in a critical condition in hospital.

Author, Ruth Rendell. Image via ABC.

"We are devastated by the loss of one of our best-loved authors. We will miss her enormously," publisher Penguin Random House said in a statement.

Penguin Random House UK chairwoman Gail Rebuck added her own thoughts on the author: "Ruth was much admired by the whole publishing industry for her brilliant body of work," she said.

"An insightful and elegant observer of society, many of her award-winning thrillers and psychological murder mysteries highlighted the causes she cared so deeply about."

Rendell was best known for psychological thrillers delving into the criminal mind as well as the successful television adaptation The Ruth Rendell Mysteries.

Her fictional creation, the sensitive Chief Inspector Reginald Wexford, featured in her first novel From Doon to Death (1964) and in many subsequent books throughout her career.

This post originally appeared on the ABC and was republished here with full permission.