6th February 2019

Novelist Rosamunde Pilcher dies in Longforgan

Author Rosamunde Pilcher was born in 1924 and served in the Women’s Royal Naval Service during the Second World War. Announcing her death, the day after it occurred, the BBC noted that “the novelist penned nearly 30 romance and women’s fiction books between 1949 and 2000 when she retired from writing… [She] began writing at the age of seven and published her first short story at 18.”

Born in Cornwall, she was still living there in the aftermath of the Second World War, when she met Graham Pilcher, who was recuperating from his injuries. They married the following year and moved to Graham’s native Dundee where she spent the rest of her life.

The Shell Seekers

Pilcher’s first novels were published under a pseudonym – Jane Fraser – but it was under her own name that she had her greatest success, with 1987’s The Shell Seekers. It tells the story of Penelope Keeling, who looks back on her life and what her children have done with theirs. The title refers to a painting produced by the central character’s father. The Shell Seekers has been adapted for both stage and screen, with Angela Lansbury taking the lead in a US TV adaptation.

In her obituary, published the day after she died, The Guardian revealed that The Shell Seekers, published by a then “little-known 63-year-old British author… sat in the bestseller list for 49 weeks in hardback and then tipped Tom Wolfe off the No 1 spot in paperback. The Shell Seekers was translated into more than 40 languages, selling around 10m copies.”



Other events that occured in February

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