Helen Clark MacInnes was born on October 7th, 1907 in Glasgow. Helen attended Hermitage School, Helensburgh and then Glasgow High School for Girls.
Helen MacInnes earned an M.A. degree at Glasgow University in 1928. In 1929-1930, Helen was selector of county library book acquisitions, Dunbartonshire Education Authority and received her diploma in librarianship from University College, London, in 1931.
In 1939 she and her husband, Gilbert Highet, a classics professor, left Oxford and settled in New York City. MacInnes adopted a variant spelling of her family surname under which she published, instead of her married surname. In addition to her 18 novels, MacInnes also published a clever comic play on Ulysses' return, Home is the Hunter (1964).
Helen made her breakthrough with the book ‘Above Suspicion’ which was written in the early 40's and published in early 50's. The book made Helen Mac Innes a force to reckon with, and she truly arrived on the scene with this bestseller. The setting is Europe, just before the outbreak of the WW-II in the early 40's. Hitler has already annexed Czechoslovakia, Poland is about to be invaded and high tension is prevailing all over Europe & UK.
After World War II, MacInnes' subject matter involved data still vital and dangerous after the war; later she moved to complex political plots in which communist forces pose threats to individuals' safety and to the security of nations.
Helen became a naturalised American citizen in 1951.
In 1966, Helen’s work was formally recognised when she was awarded the Columba Prize in Literature, Iona College, New Rochelle, New York.
Her continued popularity comes from her spy novels (many still in print) in which genre she is, as one reviewer has noted, "such a pro” – so much so that she was dubbed “The Queen of Spy Writers”.
Helen died on the 30th September 1985 in New York.
Helen also wrote under the name Helen MacInnes Highet. To date Helen’s books have sold more than 25 Million copies.