A British writer whose taut thrillers and soaring tales of aviation filled readers with both dread and awe, Gavin Lyall drew on his experiences as a Royal Air Force pilot to become a prolific scribe whose work translated to such features as the BBC's The Secret Servant. Born in Birmingham, West Midlands, England, the writer served as a pilot in the Royal Air Force from 1951 through 1953. Subsequently working for the Picture Post Journal before making a brief foray into television as a BBC director, Lyall moved back into print with work as a Sunday Times reporter before becoming the publication's aviation editor in 1959 (a position he would hold for three years). Lyall wrote his first thriller, The Wrong Side of the Sky, during his career as an editor; the book proved a bestseller and encouraged the writer to continue working on novels. Lyall's story Moon Zero Two was adapted as a feature in 1969. Actor Steve McQueen purchased the rights to the author's Midnight Plus One, but this film was never made, due to the actor's untimely death. Gavin Lyall was married to Katherine Whitehorn; he remained with his wife until his death resulting from cancer in January of 2003. He was 70.