This study provides a broad-based introduction to Iris Murdochs fiction which is discussed thematically in terms of her own recurrent interests and recent critical approaches to her work. An overview of current Murdoch scholarship, including an appraisal of biographical texts and memoirs, is followed by two chapters which explain first the ways in which Murdochs moral philosophy interacts with her novels and then her neo-theology, which answers her fears about the loss of faith in the twentieth century. A short chapter on Murdochs Irishness that questions her status as an Irish writer follows. A section on Murdochs experimentation with form explores her use of a variety of genres and assesses how her lifelong interest in painting, drama and poetry affects the form of her fiction. Finally, an assessment of the extent to which cultural, political and personal issues seep into the fiction is made with special reference to recently acquired letters to many friends and fellow philosophers.