Journalist-turned novelst Gregory Mcdonald has died at the age of 71, MSNBC is reporting. The author of 26 books, Mcdonald is most famous for creating the character of Fletch, a journalist-turned-accidental detective. McDonald wrote 11 novels featuring Fletch between 1974 and 1994, and several spin-offs featuring supporting characters. He was lauded for his light, comic touch.

The first novel was turned into a successful 1985 film starring Chevy Chase and followed by a less-successful 1989 sequel. There has been talk in recent years of reviving the series with Fletch Won, which at one point was to be directed by Kevin Smith, who cites Mcdonald as a major influence.