One of my most beloved childhood authors died on the weekend, Diana Wynne Jones
. She wasn't terribly well-known, but those who read her books tended to become fanatical (at least, I certainly did). She was one of the most original and deft plotters around, and managed to populate her books with kids and adults who felt real, whether endowed with magical powers or not. Heroines were active without being reduced to being merely spunky, and heroes were never everyman ciphers. There's a nice remembrance of her in the Guardian
right now, if her name sounds familiar but you're not sure from where, it's probably explained in there!