Settled in Tuscany by the mid-1980s, Muriel Spark lived in the home of her closest friend Penelope Jardine, where she enjoyed the relative peace and quiet, surrounded by books, cats, and olive groves. She continued to write, and released a steady stream of characters and situations into the literary world.
London became the principal setting for Muriel's next novel 'A Far Cry from Kensington' (1988). Like her earlier works 'The Girls of Slender Means', and 'Loitering with Intent', the novel returned to the world of bed-sits and rooming-houses, and of struggling writers and shifty publishers.
'Symposium' (1990) was followed by her autobiography 'Curriculum Vitae' in 1992. From her upbringing in Edinburgh to the publication of her first novel in 1957, the book reveals Muriel's steely determination: 'I knew my troubles to be temporary if I decided so', she wrote.
Her 1996 novel 'Reality and Dreams' told of a narcissistic film director's troubles, while 'Aiding and Abetting' (2000) was a fictionalised take on the Lord Lucan disappearance / story, populated — as so often — with a cast of blackmailers and frauds.
Muriel's 22nd novel, 'The Finishing School', takes a wonderfully satirical look at creative writing in the classroom. Published in March 2004, this was to be her last completed novel. The same year, she published 'All the Poems', a volume of poetry which spanned her writing career. Her 23rd novel was unfinished when Muriel Spark died in Florence in April 2006.