Roald Dahl, the British author of macabre short stories and light-hearted children's tales such as "Charlie and the

Chocolate Factory," died Friday, his agent said.Dahl, who was 74, died at John Radcliffe Hospital, where he was admitted on Nov. 12 with an undisclosed infection, his agent Murray Pollinger said.

Dahl wrote nine books of short stories, including "Kiss, Kiss," three novels, 19 children's books and numerous screenplays and scripts for television. Last year, his total paperback sales in Britain topped 2.3 million copies.

His 1964 "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" was adapted for film as "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory." Dahl also wrote the screenplays for Ian Fleming's "Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang" and Fleming's James Bond thriller, "You Only Live Twice."

Dahl married American actress Patricia Neal in 1953 and helped her recover from a series of strokes in the mid-1960s that threatened her ability to speak. They were divorced in 1983 and he married Felicity Ann Crosland.

Dahl said his secret in his children's tales was that he entered a conspiracy with children against adults. He was also known for his unnerving short stories.

"I never knew him, but I was a great admirer of his," said Theodor Geisel, or "Dr. Seuss," in a telephone interview from his California home. "He wrote excellent children's books and I was very interested in his short stories for adults."

Dahl worked for a number of children's charities and recently donated the manuscript and copyright of his story "The Vicar of Nibbleswicke" to the British Dyslexia Institute.