Barry Norman's novelist wife dies aged 77

Diana and Barry Norman with their daughters, Samantha and Emma, in 1998 Diana Norman (left) was with her husband Barry as he received his CBE in 1998

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Diana Norman, the wife of film critic Barry Norman who wrote a series of historical thrillers under the name Ariana Franklin, has died aged 77.

Mr Norman said his wife, who died at home on Thursday, had been seriously ill and had spent time in hospital.

The couple met while working as journalists on London's Fleet Street, marrying in 1957.

Her first book, Mistress of the Art of Death, received a prize from the Crime Writers' Association.

She also wrote books under her own name, including Pirate Queen, King of the Last Days and The Morning Gift.

According to the former Film programme host, Diana Norman was "a considerable expert on the 12th Century" and "a huge fan of Henry II".

"A great deal of research went into every book she wrote," he told the Press Association.

Mrs Norman leaves two daughters, Samantha and Emma, and three grandsons.

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