Friday, December 19, 2008

Farewell to a Dear Colleague

I was saddened to hear the news (from Quercus’ Lucy Ramsey) that Susanna Yager, an important British books critic with a deep interest in crime fiction, passed away earlier this week. I always enjoyed her company and her insight, but to be honest I did not know her that well. However, a favorite crime writer of mine, Natasha Cooper (aka Daphne Wright), knew her well. Cooper’s comments on Yager follow:
Susanna Yager, who died on 15 December 2008, was one of the greatest supporters of crime writing in the UK. She was the crime fiction critic of the Sunday Telegraph for a decade, producing reviews that were always fair and always very much her own. Neither fashion nor sales could sway her judgment, and her integrity was such that she would never accept a publisher’s hospitality unless she had already read and reviewed the book they were promoting. She read practically everything that was published in our genre and gave particular consideration to new writers.

In addition to her reviewing, she served as a judge of literary awards, offering her wide knowledge and critical expertise on the Crime Writers’ Association’s Gold Dagger and the Ellis Peters Dagger over many years.

But Susanna Yager came late to crime fiction, having already achieved a highly distinguished career in publishing and television. She was the first woman main board director of a FTSE 100 company, working for both [publishers] Heinemann and Hutchinson. Leaving Hutchinson, she moved on to Channel 4 right at the beginning of its existence.

Outside her work, she was a knowledgeable and discriminating lover of designer clothes, fine wine and food, an excellent cook, and impressively fit. I shall never forget a lunch given by [publisher] Hodder one year, when Susanna, Paul Johnston, and John Connolly discussed the finer points of press-ups and shared their experience of gyms, equipment, and the development of proper muscle tone. Both men were at first surprised and then visibly impressed by Susanna’s contribution.

Generous, loyal, and funny, Susanna Yager will be greatly missed. And she will not be forgotten.
Our sympathies go out to Yager’s friends and family.


me said...

Oh my God, I hadn't heard. I had many dinners and lunches with her in London, exchanged many emails, was struck by her insights and wit, and her kindness and humanity. My condolences to her husband.

Anonymous said...

That is very sad news. She was a very generous and perceptive reviewer and always supportive of crime fiction, especially up and coming authors.

Condolences to her family.


Philip Patterson