Lionel Davidson was born in Yorkshire, one of nine children of an immigrant Jewish tailor. The family moved to Streatham in south London when he was a small child. He left school at age 14 and worked for The Spectator magazine as an office boy. He managed to get one of his first stories published in the magazine under a pseudonym. Later he became a reporter for the Keystone Press Agency. During World War II, he served in the Far East with the Submarine Service of the Royal Navy. At the end of the war, he returned to the Keystone Agency and became fiction editor of John Bull magazine in 1955 before traveling around Europe as a freelance reporter. It was during one of these trips that he got the idea for his first thriller, The Night of Wenceslas, published in 1960. The novel was an instant bestseller and immediately pushed Davidson into the front ranks of the thriller genre. The book won the Crime Writers' Association's Gold Dagger Award (the top prize for crime and spy fiction in Britain) as well as the Authors' Club First Novel Award. It was adapted as a film in 1964 called Hot Enough for June. Davidson's second novel, The Rose of Tibet (1962) was equally well received. A Long Way to Shiloh (1966) won Davidson his second Gold Dagger, and he achieved an unprecedented third with The Chelsea Murders (1978). The Chelsea Murders was also adapted for television as part of Thames TV's Armchair Thriller series in 1981. Davidson moved with his family to Israel in 1968. Three of his novels are set in that country. He also wrote film scripts, short stories, and children's fiction such as Under Plum Lake (1980), as well as several others written under the pen name David Line. He did not produce another thriller until Kolymsky Heights (1994), which won international acclaim and introduced its author to a new generation of readers. In 2001, he received the CWA's Cartier Diamond Dagger award for lifetime achievement and "a significant contribution to crime fiction published in the English language."