LONDON (Reuters) - The British crime writer Ruth Rendell, best known as the creator of Detective Chief Inspector Wexford, is critically ill in hospital after suffering a serious stroke, her publisher said on Thursday.
Rendell, 84, the author of more than 60 best-selling novels, fell ill last week, Hutchinson-Penguin Random House said in a statement.
"She is in hospital under expert care in a critical but stable condition," the statement said. "Her son, Simon Rendell, is with her and thanks everyone for their concern. The family request privacy while the doctors assess the best course of treatment."
Rendell's first novel, "From Doon With Death", was published in 1964 and she has since written several award-winning books, including "A Demon in My View" in 1976 and "Live Flesh" 10 years later. Last year, she published "The Girl Next Door".
Rendell's works, some written under the pen name Barbara Vine, have been published in some 30 countries and many have been adapted for television and film.
In 1997, she took the title Baroness Rendell of Babergh after being named to the upper house of parliament, the House of Lords, for the opposition Labour Party.
"I still, after all these years, love writing, and I don't say I write well, but I write as well as I can," Rendell told Reuters in an interview in 2009.
Reporting by Michael Holden; Editing by Kevin Liffey