unafraid of stating her sometimes fierce views. Her story collection “The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher” — its title story was the result of a painkiller-induced fantasy Mantel once had in the hospital — caused a literary maelstrom. Lord Tebbit, a former cabinet minister, called it “a sick book from a sick mind”; there were calls for a police investigation. (For her part, Mantel said she was “bemused” at the suggestion that “the police should interest themselves in the case of a fictional assassination of a person who was already dead.”)
Deeply intellectual in her thinking, Mantel was also candid about her personal struggles — with poverty, with early professional setbacks, with how people perceived her, with endometriosis and chronic, debilitating pain — and rigorous in her self-appraisal..