My cousin Carol Smith, who has died aged 84, was a literary agent and writer finest recognized for her thrillers Kensington Courtroom (1996) and Unfinished Enterprise (2000).
Born in London to Winifred (nee Mapleston), a instructor, and David Smith, a businessman, Carol attended the North London Collegiate, after which she couldn’t wait to get straight to work so took a shorthand course and flew to New York on the top of the Mad Males promoting period. Humorous, charming, intelligent and bold she rapidly discovered her first job with the writer Arthur Rosenthal, who took her beneath his wing and moved her round each division of his firm.
After a stint as a narrative editor for MGM she returned to London in 1965 and joined AP Watt literary company. She constructed up a large friendship circle of authors and publishers, together with Arianna Huffington, Bernard Levin, Edward de Bono, Stephen King, Roy Hattersley and Miriam Margolyes. Within the early Nineteen Seventies she sealed her first million-dollar deal and celebrated by shopping for herself a big diamond ring. One other celebratory buy was an expensive wolf jacket and, with a wardrobe stuffed with Armani, she was all the time extraordinarily trendy.
After making some huge cash for her employers and authors she launched the Carol Smith literary company and acquired a big rambling flat in Kensington, the place she appreciated nothing greater than bringing collectively a disparate group to introduce younger editors to their counterparts and authors to one another. She had an countless curiosity about folks, and what made them tick, and took that along with her when she reinvented herself as a novelist after promoting her company in 1998.
Her experience as an agent advising authors on find out how to create tantalising storylines meant that her personal trendy model of blood-curdling thrillers had been an on the spot hit. She even invented her personal style: the “creepy weepy”.
Susan Fletcher, the previous deputy managing director of Hodder & Stoughton and a longtime pal, mentioned: “Carol was a glamorous presence, along with her blond hair, a husky voice that spoke of a 50-a-day cigarette behavior – although in actual fact she by no means smoked – and the diamond rings she awarded herself for each mega deal. However that flamboyance got here alongside a terrifically perceptive eye for expertise and formidable negotiating abilities.”
She is survived by a niece, Asta, and nephew, Karl.