Judith Cook was born in Manchester, England, the daughter of a mining engineer, and attended Stretford Grammar School. She worked as a secretary to Sir John Barbarolli, conductor of the Hallé Orchestra. In 1952, she married Douglas Cook, a musician, with whom she had four children. She became an early and dedicated campaigner against nuclear arms and founded the organization Voice of Women. She wrote a popular column for The Guardian newspaper and then began to write books. Among the 30 books she produced in her career were biographies of Grace O'Malley, J.B. Priestley, and Daphne du Maurier; nonfiction works such as Who Killed Hilda Murrell? (1985), which was adapted into a play, To Brave Every Danger (1993), and Price of Freedom (1985); and several mystery novels based on the casebooks of Dr. Simon Forman, an Elizabethan doctor and astrologer. She became features editor of the Birmingham Post, a lecturer in theatre at the University of Exeter, and worked for Anglia Television.