Christine Marion Fraser published 25 works of fiction and three volumes of autobiography. She has been translated into other languages and published throughout the world. Her novels outsold Catherine Cookson in Scotland and she was one of the most borrowed Scottish authors in British libraries.

Like Cookson, Fraser overcame humble beginnings and illness in her early years to write stories that enthralled her readers all over the world. Born and reared in a two-roomed flat in Govan, the second youngest of nine children, she was not expected to see her 12th birthday due to a rare illness that had her in hospital for two years at the age of 10. The indomitable spirit that was to be with her all her life brought her through, and although she used a wheelchair she educated herself.

She started writing at the age of 12, driven by a sense of determination inherited from her shipyard worker father and the story - telling ability she had shown since the age of six, keeping her siblings amused for hours. She began with a series of schoolgirl stories she sent off to a publisher. Although they were turned down, her resolve was unshaken.

Further hardships followed. At the age of 13 the

family was rehoused in Castlemilk which she found more oppressive than Govan. She lost both parents by the time she was 17 and had found work as a machinist in a Glasgow garment ''sweat shop''. She believed that obstacles in life made one stronger. She had no one to lean on and she had to be independent and tough inside.

The way out of this depressing adolescence came through meeting her husband, Ken Ashfield, an able-bodied helper with the Disabled Drivers' Club and just graduated from Glasgow School of Art. They married when she was 21, and a few years later when their daughter was aged four, they moved to Argyll, where Ken encouraged her to start writing. The first in the eight-book Rhanna series was published in 1978 and their world changed. The fictional Hebridean island populated with the loveable characters she created had readers begging for more. Each book had the main players, but the supporting cast of islanders were a foil to the main drama.

Following on came the five books in the Kings series tracing the lives of the Crant

family in the Farmtouns in the Lands of Rothiedrum in the north-east, and ending in the Glasgow tenements Fraser knew so well.

Living at the nineteenth- century Gunpowder Mill in Glen Lean inspired her to write the three book Noble series. Some one-off Scottish romantic novels followed with two books written with her lifelong friend and kindred spirit, Frank Gallagher. They also composed some beautiful Scottish songs and music, yet to be published.

Her three volumes of autobiography, beginning with Blue Above the Chimneys, describes her early years and her path to success. For success it was. Without the help of heavy hype and marketing, virtually ignored by the literary pages, her books had broken through the invisible barrier that Scottish themes seem to pose to an English readership.

She always insisted there was no such barrier, and that the prejudice against Scottishness only existed in the minds of publishers, not the reading public, and the thousands of fan letters she has received over the years are testament

to that.

Her sales figures have borne that out, too. Word of mouth recommendation alone is not responsible for millions of book sales, but it is probably the biggest factor.

The same holds true even more so among library readers: this year's public lending right figures showed her to be one of the most borrowed authors of fiction and non-fiction in Britain. Her books were written with great observation and her autobiography with a refreshing lack of sentiment.

The final work was the unfinished Kinvara series of four books, but she had intended to write two more along with some more Rhanna titles because of so many requests from her readers. She had ideas for many new books but sadly it was not to be.

Despite using a wheelchair most of her life, Fraser had strong self-motivation. She taught herself to drive a car, learned many musical instruments, painted the Argyll landscape she loved so much, and at the old manse at Coward Point which she renamed Rhanna, she enjoyed the garden she loved in summer and wrote her books in the winter months in her study that looked over the Kyles to Bute and Arran beyond.

She travelled the world visiting Europe, North Africa,

Alaska, and Australia. She has dined at the House of Lords and had drinks with the Queen at Windsor Castle but her spirit was and always will be

at Rhanna .

Christine Marion Fraser (Ashfield) is survived by her husband Ken, daughter, Tracey, and grandchildren, Rachael and Ryan.

Christine Marion Fraser, novelist; born March 24, 1938, died November 22, 2002.