Victor Canning, born 1911, was a prolific British author of spy thrillers and adventure novels. He also wrote four novels about a fictional private eye named Rex Carver whose adventures tended to become mixed up with secret agents and undercover departments. He had written many books over a 25-year period before his 1972 novel The Rainbird Pattern won prizes in both England and the United States as one of the best mystery novels of the year. It was a far darker and more ironic book than any of his previous efforts and it earned him a high critical reputation that stayed with him for the rest of his career. Most of his subsequent books reflected this new style, and the shadowy Establishment agencies that he frequently wrote about were as often the villains as the heroes.