Australian crime author Peter Corris dies

Peter Corris, who died on August 30, pictured in Newtown in 2007.
Peter Corris, who died on August 30, pictured in Newtown in 2007.

Australian crime author Peter Corris, dubbed the "godfather" of crime fiction, has died at the age of 76.

Mr Corris, who published his first novel in 1980, died in his sleep on Wednesday night.

He was best known for his bestselling series featuring private investigator Cliff Hardy which led to him being regarded as the "godfather" of Australian crime writing.

He was born in Stawell, Victoria and after completing a master's degree at Monash University and a PhD at the Australian National University he became an academic.

Mr Corris moved to Sydney later in life, turned to journalism as literary editor of The National Times and wrote the regular 'Godfather' column for independent book review site Newtown Review of Books.

"With great sadness we announce that Peter Corris died in his sleep last night. A great loss to all who knew him and his many readers. Vale Peter," Newtown Review of Books posted on Facebook on Thursday.

Mr Corris was married to writer Jean Bedford and together they had three daughters and have seven grandchildren.

Australia's prestigious crime writing awards - The Ned Kelly Awards - honoured Mr Corris with a lifetime achievement for his contribution to the genre in 1999.

His publisher Allen & Unwin described Mr Corris as a "much-loved" author with a "distinguished career".

"Peter has rightfully been described as the godfather of Australian crime fiction," Allen & Unwin said in a statement on Thursday.

"He will be missed by all at Allen & Unwin, and by everyone who worked with him over his long and distinguished career."

Australian Associated Press