Mo Hayder

Beatrice Clare Dunkel (born Clare Damaris Bastin;[1] pen names, Mo Hayder and Theo Clare; 2 January 1962 – 27 July 2021) was a British author. Earlier in her life she worked as an actress and model under the name Candy Davis. She went on to write novels as Mo Hayder.[2][3] One upcoming book will be published under the name Theo Clare.[4][5] She won an Edgar Award in 2012. Her best known work was Birdman, which was followed by a sequel, The Treatment. The Book of Sand, will be published in 2022.[4]

Mo Hayder
Author Mo Hayder.jpg
BornClare Damaris Bastin
(1962-01-02)2 January 1962
Epping, Essex, England[1]
Died27 July 2021(2021-07-27) (aged 59)
Pen nameCandy Davis (acting name), Mo Hayder, Theo Clare
EducationThe American University
Bath Spa University
GenreCrime, thriller
Notable worksBirdman
The Treatment
Pig Island
Notable awardsEdgar Award (2012)
Years active1982–2021
(m. 1985; div. 1990)
Bob Randall
(m. 2021)

Early lifeEdit

Born in Essex on 2 January 1962, Hayder grew up in Loughton as the daughter of John Bastin, an astrophysicist, and Susan Hollins, a teacher.[2][6] She had a younger brother, Richard.[1] She left school and home for London shortly before her 16th birthday. Hayder was educated at The American University and Bath Spa University.[4]

Acting and modelling careerEdit

As Candy Davis, she won the Miss Nude beauty pageant in 1982 and became a Page 3 model.[1] As an actress, her first credit was as a stripper in an episode of Minder although her best known role was playing secretary Miss Belfridge in the BBC sitcom Are You Being Served? in the final two series from 1983 to 1985. She also appeared in the music video for the ABC song "Poison Arrow".[3][1]

After (in her own words) "a wild child phase" and a brief marriage to Gary Olsen she emigrated at 25 to Japan[7][5] where she became an English teacher as a foreign language in Tokyo.[7] She was also a waitress at a nightclub and an amateur filmmaker.[7]

Writing careerEdit

Hayder sent the manuscript of her first book to several agents. To her own surprise she was accepted by leading literary agent Jane Gregory who got her an offer of nearly £200,000 by Transworld Publishers for a two-book deal. Patrick Janson-Smith of Transworld described the manuscript at the 1998 Frankfurt Book Fair as one of the most powerful and violent books he had come across, "a completely gripping story with believable characters".[6] This debut novel, Birdman, was published in December 1999 and was an international bestseller.[5] Her second novel, The Treatment, was a Sunday Times bestseller and won the 2002 WH Smith Thumping Good Read Award.[5][8]

Her third novel, Tokyo, was published in May 2004 and was another Sunday Times bestseller.[9] Tokyo was published as The Devil of Nanking in the United States in March 2005. Pig Island was her fourth best seller and was published in April 2006. Pig Island was nominated for both a Barry Award for Best British crime novel, and a CWA dagger.[10] Her fifth book, Ritual was the first in The Walking Man series, and was nominated for CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger award.[11] Skin is the second book in The Walking Man series, and was released in early 2009. Gone, the third book in The Walking Man series, was released in February 2011. Gone won the Edgar Award for Best Novel.[12] Her novel Hanging Hill was published 2011, Poppet in 2013, and Wolf in 2014.

Her novels were controversial when published such as Birdman, which was seen as violent and disturbing.[13] Her other novel, The Treatment tackled themes of paedophilia.[14] The San Francisco Chronicle called the novel a "disturbing journey into the pedophile mind".[14]

Hayder also wrote the screenplay for De Behandeling (2014) which was a Belgian film of an adaptation of her book The Treatment.[15][16]

Shortly before her death, she completed a new novel The Book of Sand, a speculative thriller written under the pseudonym Theo Clare, which will be published in 2022.[4]

Personal lifeEdit

In 1985, she married the actor Gary Olsen, later the male lead in 2point4 children, but the couple divorced in 1990.[1]

Hayder lived outside Bath, England with her second husband, Bob Randall, a retired police sergeant whom she married in 2021.[5][17] She had one daughter.[4]

She died on 27 July 2021 from complications of motor neurone disease, aged 59, having been diagnosed only the previous December.[4]


Jack Caffery seriesEdit

Stand-alone novelsEdit

Writing as Theo ClareEdit

  • The Book of Sand (2022)[4]



Year Television Episode(s) Character Played
1982 O.T.T. A short lived TV series presented by Chris Tarrant Herself
1982 Minder Rembrandt Doesn't Live Here Anymore Stripper
1983 The Benny Hill Show Holiday Hill's Angel
1983 The Entertainers Jeff Stevenson
1983 The Comic Strip Presents Five Go Mad on Mescalin Janie
1983 The Two Ronnies Episode 10.2 The Colonel's Niece
1984 Cannon & Ball Episode 6.6 Herself
1984 Bottle Boys Here Comes the Groom Deirdre
1983-1985 Are You Being Served? Main characters, series 9 and 10 Miss Belfridge
1985 The Two Ronnies Episode 11.3
1985 The Two Ronnies Episode 11.4 Miss Exotica Stormtrooper
1986 The Two Ronnies Episode 12.3 Woman with Trevor


Year Title Character
1983 Fanny Hill Girl in bed (uncredited)
1985 Underworld Barmaid


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Clare Dunkel obituary". The Times. 9 August 2021. Retrieved 9 August 2021. (subscription required)
  2. ^ a b c Billingham, Mark (2 August 2021). "Mo Hayder obituary". The Guardian. Retrieved 2 August 2021.
  3. ^ a b "Mo Hayder, author of inventive but 'jaw-droppingly grisly' thrillers – obituary". The Telegraph. 9 August 2021. Retrieved 9 August 2021.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Wood, Heloise (28 July 2021). "'Extraordinary' crime writer Mo Hayder dies of motor neurone disease". The Bookseller. Retrieved 28 July 2021.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g Flood, Alison (29 July 2021). "Crime novelist Mo Hayder dies aged 59 from motor neurone disease". The Guardian. Retrieved 29 July 2021.
  6. ^ a b Alberge, Dalya (9 October 1998). "£200,000 for an author who left school at 15". The Guardian.
  7. ^ a b c Dickson, E. Jane (23 October 2011). "The Books Interview Mo Hayder: Death beneath the Dome". The Independent. Retrieved 29 July 2021.
  8. ^ "W. H. Smith Thumping Good Reads Award". Retrieved 29 July 2021.
  9. ^ a b Petit, Chris (8 May 2004). "Review: Tokyo by Mo Hayder". The Guardian. Retrieved 29 July 2021.
  10. ^ Pig Island. Grove Atlantic. Retrieved 29 July 2021.
  11. ^ Grove Atlantic. Groove Atlantic. Retrieved 29 July 2021.
  12. ^ "The Edgar Awards Revisited: Gone by Mo Hayder (Best Novel, 2012)". Criminal Element. 14 February 2020. Retrieved 29 July 2021.
  13. ^ "Book Review: Birdman". Crime by the Book. Retrieved 29 July 2021.
  14. ^ a b Dunn, Adam (17 March 2002). "A disturbing journey into the pedophile mind". SF Gat. San Francisco, CA. Retrieved 29 July 2021.
  15. ^ "THE TREATMENT / DE BEHANDELING (2014)". Dog and Wolf. Retrieved 29 July 2021.
  16. ^ "'The Treatment' ('De Behandeling'): Montreal Review". The Hollywood Reporter. 29 August 2014. Retrieved 29 July 2021.
  17. ^ "Bestselling crime writer Mo Hayder gives a lunchtime talk at Watford Library". Watford Observer. Retrieved 29 July 2021.
  18. ^ "Shortlist for Theakston's Crime Novel of the year Award 2009". 2 June 2009. Archived from the original on 15 August 2016. Retrieved 17 June 2009.
  19. ^ "Mo Hayder books". 22 February 2006. Archived from the original on 22 February 2006.

External linksEdit