FRIENDS and family of the late and much-loved York writer Helen Cadbury gathered for the poignant launch of her third book.

Helen’s “warmth and generosity” shone through the words of her friends.

She was for many years a vital part of York’s literary scene as a poet, novelist and creative writing teacher and she has been widely mourned in York and in the UK publishing industry since her death on June 30, aged just 52, from breast cancer.

On Tuesday her third novel in her Sean Denton crime series, Race to the Kill, was launched at York Explore, as part of the library’s Big City Read programme.

More than 5,000 copies of her debut crime novel, To Catch a Rabbit, are being given away, accompanied by a programme of events and activities around the city.

Her first editor Will Mackie spoke at the book launch about how he worked with Helen on her first book after she won the Northern Crime competition in 2012.

“I was asked to support Helen on her final draft and get her manuscript ready for publication. We quickly became very fond of her; she was a genuinely lovely woman,” he said.

“She had such a warmth to her and a strong sense of justice and concern for the injustices of society. Her writing was deeply appealing.”

Last year Will, now senior programme manager of the New Writing Awards for New Writing North, recruited Helen for the Read Regional campaign for her second novel Bones in the Nest, which sees writers from the north appear at libraries and book events. He showed a promotional video for the campaign at the launch, in which Helen talks about her love of libraries and meeting readers. “I couldn’t think of a better person to front the video,” he said. “She had been fighting this awful illness, but was determined to take part in Read Regional.

“We are here to celebrate the book and celebrate Helen. This is one of her gifts to us.”

Her friend Dave Nicholson also said a few words about Race to the Kill and Helen’s “brilliant” writing.

Helen lived in Heworth and was a mother of two sons. Her first book about Sean Denton has been optioned for TV by the producers of Death in Paradise.