Nancy Livingston was the pen name of Janet Woolsey, born at Stockton-on-Tees, England. Her first career was acting, for which she trained at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. She worked in the early days of live television, when her ability to play the piano during scene changes boosted the number of parts she was offered. In between acting jobs, she learned shorthand, typing and commercial French, and also worked as a production assistant for Tyne Tees, ATV and ITN. In 1975, she married David Foster. She adopted a pseudonym when she began writing books. Her specialty was crime novels noted for their intelligence and wit. Eight of them featured a pair of amateur sleuths, retired tax inspector and widower G.D.H. Pringle and his lively companion Mavis Bignell. Death in a Distant Land won the Punch Award for the funniest crime novel of 1988. She also wrote five historical sagas set in the north of England, the last -- Moon's Edge -- completed during her final illness. She was elected chairman of the Crime Writers' Association in 1992.