Roald Dahl, 74, the British author of the immensely popular children's tales "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" and "James and the Giant Peach," died Nov. 23 at a hospital in Oxford, England.

Mr. Dahl had been admitted to the hospital Nov. 12 with an undisclosed infection.

His 19 children's books have been translated into at least 17 languages and sold more than 8 million copies. He was also the author of two entertaining volumes of autobiographical works, "Boy" and "Going Solo," and three novels.

He also wrote film and television scripts, and nine books of short stories that earned a devoted following. In 1989, the paperback editions of his works sold more than 2.3 million copies in Britain alone.

His first children's book, "The Gremlins," which appeared in 1943, had been serialized the previous year in Cosmopolitan magazine. It told the story of tiny people who lived in Air Force planes and how they caused untold technical difficulties.

"James and the Giant Peach," which was published in 1961, told of the adventures of a boy who traveled the world with several animal friends in a giant peach.

Probably his best-known work, "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory," appeared in 1964 and became a worldwide bestseller. It told of a visit by Charlie and "four nasty children" to a chocolate factory.

His later children's works included "Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator," which was a sequel to the Chocolate Factory volume, and "The BFG," the 1983 story of a vegetarian giant.

Mr. Dahl also had contributed macabre mysteries and singularly strange short stories to magazines that ranged from the New Yorker and the Atlantic to Playboy and Esquire. He won Edgar Allan Poe awards of the Mystery Writers of America in 1954 and 1959.

A critic of The Times of London's Literary Supplement said Mr. Dahl "knows how to steer an unwavering course along the hairline where the gruesome and the comic meet and mingle. He thinks of a story as a staircase up which the reader is to be lured and finally coaxed into taking that confident last step which, breathtakingly and deliciously, isn't there."

Twenty-two of his stories were adapted for television, appearing in a series entitled "Tales of the Unexpected."

His other works for adults included the 1980 ribald novel "My Uncle Oswald," which involved strange goings-on at a sperm bank.

His screenplays included "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang," a 1968 film starring Dick Van Dyke; the 1967 movie "You Only Live Twice," which starred Sean Connery as James Bond; and the 1970 film "Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory," which Mr. Dahl wrote from his "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory."

He may be best remembered as an original voice in childen's literature who was as popular with children as he was unpopular with some of their parents. Some critics found his works tasteless, violent or even chillingly sadistic. But children seemed less troubled than their parents by the violence and infectiously thrilled by the adventure of it all.

Mr. Dahl insisted that "children love to be spooked, to be made to giggle. They don't relate to life. They enjoy fantasy." He also explained that "my nastiness is never gratuitous. It's retribution. Beastly people must be punished."

He claimed that the real goal of his tall tales was to get children to love books and to want to read them. He said the secret of his success with young readers was that he entered into a conspiracy with them against the grown-up world.

He told London's Independent newspaper this year, "It's the path to their affections. It may be simplistic but it is the way. Parents and schoolteachers are the enemy. The adult is the enemy of the child because of the awful process of civilizing this thing that, when it is born, is an animal with no manners, no moral sense at all."

Mr. Dahl was born in Llandaff, South Wales, to Norwegian parents. In "Going Solo" he told of traveling to Africa before World War II to work for Shell Oil. The book told of British eccentrics he met early on, including a husband and wife who insisted on jogging nude around the ship daily, and a singularly sly man who sprinkled artificial dandruff about his shoulders to disguise the fact that he was wearing a wig.

During World War II, Mr. Dahl was a pilot with Britain's Royal Air Force. His RAF career got off to a bumpy start when he crashed on the way to his first posting. He later flew the legendary Hurricane fighter plane in the battle for Crete. Later in the war, he was transferred to a staff officer's job in Washington.

In 1989, he made headlines when he attacked Salman Rushdie for his novel, "Satanic Verses." He called Rushdie a "dangerous opportunist" who was using publicity, garnered when Iran's Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini called for his death, to sell his book.

In 1953, Mr. Dahl married film actress Patricia Neal. They divorced in 1983.

Survivors include his wife, Felicity Ann Crosland, and five children by his first marriage.


Former Fairfax Resident

Katherine N. Arthur, 69, a former Fairfax resident, died of cancer Nov. 19 at Williamsburg Community Hospital in Williamsburg.

Mrs. Arthur, a resident of Williamsburg, was born in Detroit into an Army family, and she grew up at a succession of military posts.

In 1947, she married John E. Arthur, an Army officer who retired as a colonel. She accompanied him on assignments to Japan and Iran as well as to Hawaii and elsewhere in the United States. They lived in Fairfax from 1950 until 1975, when they moved to Williamsburg.

In addition to her husband, of Williamsburg, survivors include a sister, Jean Dickerson, and a brother, Jon Niederpruem, both of Palmetto, Fla.


Capitol Hill Aide

Frankie C. Ramage, 70, a retired Capitol Hill aide who had worked for several members of Congress, died of heart ailments Nov. 22 at her home in McLean.

Mrs. Ramage was born in McLean, Tex. She moved to Washington in 1941 and worked for the Navy Department during World War II.

In 1945, she joined the staff of Rep. Walter E. Rogers (D-Tex.), working on such constituent matters as veterans benefits. She later did similar work for representatives Perkins Bass (R-N.H.), Ben F. James (R-Pa.), Stuyvesant Wainwright II (R-N.Y.) and Elford A. Cederberg (R-Mich.). She was on Cederberg's staff from 1960 until she retired in 1972.

Mrs. Ramage was a member of the Congressional Secretaries Club and the Church of Christ. A member of the Evermay Bridge Club in McLean, she played in a number of bridge tournaments to benefit Children's Hospital.

Survivors include her husband, David R. Ramage of McLean, and a brother, Hugh Arch Caraway of San Antonio.


Garden Club President

Helen Sherwin Yu, 69, a founder and past president of the Plain Dirt Garden Club in Potomac and a former Agriculture Department plant pathologist, died of cancer Nov. 23 at her home in Potomac.

Mrs. Yu was born in Raleigh, N.C. She graduated from what then was the Women's College of North Carolina and received a master's degree at the University of North Carolina.

She moved to the Washington area in 1944 and worked for 11 years as a plant pathologist at the Agriculture Department's research facility in Beltsville.

She was a member of Potomac United Methodist Church.

Her husband, Dr. John C.K. Yu, died in 1979. Survivors include two daughters, Janet Yahiro of Columbia and Betsy King of Rockville; four sisters, Evelyn Beaven of Solomons, Md., Ernestine Spillman of Atlanta, Dorothy Brown of Agawam, Mass., and Hilda Sherwin of Bloomington, Ind.; a brother, Sidney Sherwin of Salisbury, N.C; and four grandchildren.


College Park Merchant

Rose Rosenberg, 79, who operated the College Park Gift and Art Shop with her husband from the late 1950s to the mid-1970s, died of kidney failure Nov. 22 at Suburban Hospital in Bethesda.

Mrs. Rosenberg was born in Russia and came to the United States as a child. She grew up in Atlantic City and Philadelphia and moved to the Washington area about 50 years ago.

She was active in several organizations, including Hadassah, Pioneer Women, ORT and the Washington chapter of the Brandeis Zionist District. She and her husband, Bernard Rosenberg, received the Louis Brandeis Award for service to Zionism.

She had been a volunteer fund-raiser for the Jewish National Fund.

A longtime resident of Silver Spring, Mrs. Rosenberg had lived at the Hebrew Home of Greater Washington for the last year.

In addition to her husband, of Rockville, survivors include a sister, Frances Goldmark of Miami.


Customs Attorney

Albert S. Loeb, 81, a retired attorney with the Customs Service in Washington, died of cancer Nov. 22 at his home in Lantana, Fla.

Mr. Loeb was born in Philadelphia. He graduated from Rutgers University, and he received a law degree from the New Jersey Law School. During World War II, he served in the Army in Europe.

In 1946, he went to work for the old War Department as a civilian attorney with the Army in West Germany. He remained there until 1956, when he was transferred to Morocco.

In 1961, Mr. Loeb moved to the Washington area and joined what was then called the Customs Bureau as a staff attorney. He retired in 1981 and moved to Florida.

His wife, Ellen Martha Loeb, died in 1984. Survivors include a daughter, Gerda Loeb of Lantana; a brother, Edward Loeb of Upland, Calif.; and two grandchildren.