William Hjortsberg, who has died aged 76, was a brilliantly inventive writer whose books fell into a category sometimes called “slipstream”, a creative mix of genres often characterised by darkness lightened with playful humour. His best-known novel, Falling Angel (1978), is a mix of hard-boiled detective fiction and horror, a metaphysical noir that became Alan Parker’s classic movie Angel Heart (1987). Two years earlier, Hjortsberg had written the screenplay for another dark fantasy by a British director, Ridley Scott’s cult movie Legend (1985).

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