Born near Cambridge, Massachusetts to Pulitzer prize-winning poet Conrad Aiken and his first wife, the writer Jessie McDonald; the couple later divorced. Jane Hodge was 3 years old when her family moved to Great Britain, settling in Rye, East Sussex, where her younger sister, Joan, who would become a children's writer, was born.
From 1935, Jane Hodge read English at Somerville College, Oxford University, and in 1938 she took a second degree in English at Radcliffe College, her mother's alma mater. She was a civil servant for a time, and also worked for Time Magazine, before returning to the UK in 1947. Her works of fiction include historical novels and contemporary detective novels. In 1972 she renounced her United States citizenship and became a British subject.
For many years a believer in the right of people to end their own lives, Hodge chose to end her own by means of an overdose in June 2009. The Times obituary (pub. July 25, 2009) stated that she left "a letter expressing her deep distress that she had felt unable to discuss her plans with her daughters without risking making them accessories.".
She died at home in Lewes on June 17 and is survived by two daughters and two granddaughters.