Best-selling thriller writer Jack Higgins dies aged 92

Best-selling thriller writer Henry Patterson has died aged 92.

Patterson, known to the public by his pseudonym Jack Higgins, published 85 books during his lifetime.

He died at his home in Jersey, surrounded by his family, his longtime editors, HarperCollins, said in a statement.

Patterson is best known for the 1975 novel The Eagle Has Landed about a fictional plot to kidnap Winston Churchill during World War II.

The book has sold over 50 million copies and has been adapted into a film starring Robert Duvall, Donald Sutherland and Sir Michael Caine.

Patterson was born in Newcastle on July 27, 1929 to an English father and a Northern Irish mother.

He grew up in Belfast until his mother remarried and he moved to Leeds.

After a two-year stint in national service, he graduated as a teacher and started writing novels on the side.

He received an advance of £75 for his first novel, Sad Wind From The Sea, in 1959.

Her latest book, The Midnight Bell, was published in 2017 and was a Sunday Times bestseller.

HarperCollins said that when his latest novel came out, they simply called him “The Legend”.

He is survived by four children from his first marriage – Sarah, Ruth, Sean and Hannah – as well as his wife, Denise.

In a statement, HarperCollins chief executive Charlie Redmayne said Patterson was a “classic thriller writer.”

“I’ve been a fan of Jack Higgins for longer than I can remember. He was a classic thriller writer: instinctive, tough, relentless,” he said.

“The Eagle Has Landed and his other books by Liam Devlin, his later series by Sean Dillon, and so many others were and remain absolutely unassailable.

“Being part of his publishing for part of his career has been a privilege – his passing marks the end of an era.”

Jonathan Lloyd, his literary agent and president of Curtis Brown, said he knew The Eagle Has Landed would be an “instant classic” when it was first published.

“I had the privilege of being at Collins Publishers when we received the manuscript for The Eagle Has Landed,” he said.

“We all knew, with rare certainty, that we were going to release an instant classic.”

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