Leon Garfield was born in Brighton in 1921. His brief art studies were interrupted by the outbreak of World War II, when he joined the army. After the war he worked as a hospital laboratory technician until in the 1960s his literary success enabled him to devote himself completely to writing. He lived with his wife, the children's writer, Vivien Alcock, in Highgate, North London, which has featured in many of his novels.
He is the author of a large number of highly acclaimed novels, some of which have been serialised for television, including Devil-in-the-Fog, and Jack Holborn. Black Jack was made into a full-length feature film, and was joint winner of the International Jury Award at the 1979 Cannes Film Festival. The famous film director, John Huston, made his last screen appearance in 1987 in the film of Mr Corbett's Ghost. He was working on a four-hour dramatisation of The Odyssey for BBC Radio when he died on 2nd June 1996.