Eric Wright, Canadian crime writer, dead at age 86

Veteran Canadian crime writer Eric Wright, beloved for his Insp. Charlie Salter mystery series, has died. He was 86.

Best known for his series featuring Charlie Salter, a Toronto police inspector

Celebrated Canadian crime writer Eric Wright, was one of the early presidents of the Crime Writers of Canada (Cormorant Books)

Veteran Canadian crime writer Eric Wright, beloved for his Insp. Charlie Salter mystery series, has died.

Cormorant Books said he died on Friday after recently being diagnosed with kidney cancer. He was 86.

Born in South London, England, Wright immigrated to Canada in 1951.

He served as chairman of the English department and dean of arts at Toronto's Ryerson Polytechnic University. He was also one of the early presidents of the Crime Writers of Canada.

Wright was known for featuring Toronto in his stories, which also included the Lucy Trimble Brenner Mysteries, the Mel Pickett Mysteries, and the Joe Barley Mysteries.

Won several Arthur Ellis Awards

He won several Arthur Ellis Awards for his books as well as the Derrick Murdoch Award for his body of work.

Wright's 1999 memoir, Always Give a Penny to a Blind Man, was a finalist for the inaugural Charles Taylor Prize for Literary Non-Fiction.

Anna Porter, who first met him when they were both at Ryerson, called him "a wonderful man and a terrific writer"

"Though I enjoyed reading all Eric's books, my favourite is the memoir," Porter said in a statement.

Anna Porter: 'We'll miss him'

"It was a story he had been wanting to tell for many years and, finally, the time was right. We'll miss him."

Wright's current publisher, Marc Cote, said he was working in his final weeks on his novella, The Land Mine, which was scheduled to be published in the coming months.

"He was a gentleman and a professional; lovely to work with and as thorough as any editor or publisher could hope an author to be," said Cote.

"He handled everything with great good humour."

Wright is survived by his wife Valerie, daughters Jessica and Tory, son-in-law Richard and granddaughter Poppy.