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Sarah Caudwell (Cockburn)

Birthdate: (62)
Birthplace: Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, England, United Kingdom
Death: Died in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, England, United Kingdom
Cause of death: Cancer
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Claud Cockburn and Jean Ross
Half sister of Claudia Cockburn; <private> Flanders (Cockburn); Alexander Claud Cockburn; Andrew Myles Cockburn and <private> Cockburn

Occupation: Barrister and mystery writer
Managed by: Kenneth Kwame Welsh, (C)
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Sarah Caudwell

Sarah Caudwell was the pseudonym of Sarah Cockburn (1939 – Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, January 2000), a British barrister and writer of detective stories.

She is best known for a series of four murder stories written between 1980 and 1999, centred around the lives of a group of young barristers practicing in Lincoln’s Inn and narrated by a Hilary Tamar, a Professor of Medieval Law (gender unknown), who also acts as detective.

Early years

Sarah Cockburn was the daughter of Claud Cockburn, the left wing journalist, and his second wife Jean Ross, who was partly the model for Christopher Isherwood's Sally Bowles of Cabaret fame. Caudwell's three half-brothers Alexander Cockburn, Andrew Cockburn and Patrick Cockburn are also journalists. She was the half-sister-in-law of Leslie Cockburn and of Michael Flanders. Journalists Laura Flanders and Stephanie Flanders, and actress Olivia Wilde are her half-nieces.

She graduated in Classics from the University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, and read Law at St Anne's College, University of Oxford, Oxford, Oxfordshire. On coming down from Oxford she lectured on Law at the University College of Wales, Aberystwyth. Having been called to the Bar, she practised as a Barrister for several years in Lincoln’s Inn, where she was admitted to and was entitled to practice in 1966, and later specialised in international tax planning at Lloyds Bank. It was at this time that she started to write.

She was one of the first two female students to join the Oxford Union, having, legend has it, dressed up in men's clothes to protest against its male-only membership policy. She was thus one of the first female students to speak in the Oxford Union's Debating Chamber.


She was a lifelong pipe-smoker, and inveterate crossword-puzzle solver, reaching the final of The Times Crossword Competition more than once. For many years she lived in Barnes, London with her mother and aunt. She died of cancer in January 2000 in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire.

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Sarah Caudwell's Timeline

Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, England, United Kingdom
January 2000
Age 62
Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, England, United Kingdom