Margaret Yorke was born in Surrey, but lived in Dublin until 1937, before moving back to England. During the war, she served in the Woman's Royal Naval Service as a driver. She then worked in the libraries of two Oxford colleges, the first woman ever to work in Christ Church library. A campaigner for Public Lending Rights for authors in Britain, she was also chairman of the Crime Writers' Association between 1979 and 1980.
In 1993, she won the Golden Handcuffs award which is given in recognition of the popularity of the country's leading crime writer within the library service and to its borrowers.
She lives in a small village in Buckinghamshire.