This mystery is told from the point of view of the 'Bird'; Tina Rossi, a famous coloratura soprano who arrives to sing at the Edinburgh Festival, only to find a murder victim in a cupboard, whilst at the same time her lover, top scientist Kenneth Homes, has gone missing. Saved from the long arm of the law by Johnson Johnson, a world renowned portrait painter and enigmatic solver of mysteries, Tina joins him on a yacht race to the Hebrides - there are connections anyway as Homes was conducting top secret research in the area. Here, though, there is yet more trouble and the mystery deepens as Johnson's yacht 'Dolly' nears the island of Rum, where it turns into a race for life rather than prize money. This is the first title in the Johnson Johnson series and in common with the remainder involves an intricate plot and solution which is far from immediately obvious.
About the Author
In 1946, she married Alastair Dunnett, who was at the time the chief press officer to the Secretary of State for Scotland. He went on to become editor of 'The Scotsman' newspaper, whilst she later worked on a statistics handbook for the Board of Trade. After a brief spell in Glasgow, the couple settled in Edinburgh where their home became a centre for hospitality and entertaining, mostly in support of Scottish art and culture. Dunnett had also taken evening classes at the Edinburgh College of Art and the Glasgow School of Art, and from 1950 onwards she established a prominent career as a portrait painter, being exhibited at both the Royal Scottish Academy and the Royal Academy. She was also an accomplished sculptress.
Her interest in writing developed during the 1950's. Her own tastes took her to historical novels and it was her husband who eventually suggested she write one of her own, after she had complained of running out of reading material. The result was 'The Game of Kings', an account of political and military turmoil in sixteenth-century Scotland. Whilst turned down for publication in the UK, it was eventually published in the USA where it became an instant best seller. Other titles, such as the 'Lymond Chronicles' and 'House of Niccolo' series followed and which established her international reputation.
She also successfully turned her hand to crime, with the 'Johnson Johnson' series. He is an eccentric artist, famous for bifocals, and of course amateur detective. All of the titles in the series somehow also feature the yacht 'Dolly', despite ranging widely in location from Scotland, to Ibiza, Rome, Marrakesh, Canada, Yugoslavia, Madeira and The Bahamas. There is plenty of sailing lore for the enthusiast, but not so much it detracts from the stories genre; crime. Each of them is told by a woman whose profession explains her role in the mystery and we learn very little about Johnson himself, save for the fact he is somewhat dishevelled in appearance.
Dorothy Dunnett somehow fitted in her many careers and voluntary work, along with supporting her husband's endeavours, yet still found the time to correspond widely with her readers from all over the world, and was often delighted to meet with them personally. She held the rare distinction of having a Dorothy Dunnett Readers Association formed during her lifetime and collaborated with it as much as possible. A writer who has been described as one of great wit, charm, and humanity, yet whose work displayed toughness, precision, and humour, she was appointed to an OBE in 1992 for services to literature and became Lady Dunnett in 1995 when her husband was knighted. She died in 2001, being survived by her two sons; Ninian and Mungo.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
A New Dawn Chapter Seven "Ulik?" A voice asks. I raise my broad, furry black head and turn my orangey brown muzzle to the speaker—my brother Orsek. We are black bears, in the massive, forested Bear Kingdom. "Yes?" I rumble, my dark brown eyes gleaming. "We should go to the lake and get water before it freezes. We can soak it up with moss." He suggests. I nod and drag myself to my paws. We lumber into the trees, our muscles rippling. When we reach the pine-rimmed lake, we walk to the pebbley edge and dunk our muzzles to drink. Orsek goes to get moss, and I rear onto my hind legs to scent the air for prey. I smell moose, and move off. An old, ragged moose stumbles through the trees. It's obviously lost, for I can't smell any other moose. Its herd must've left it. I charge the moose and knock it down, grabbing its throat in my jaws and snapping it with a jerk of my head. I drag it to the shore to meet my brother. "Good catch, brother." He complements, soaking the moss. "It was old." I comment in embarressment, ducking my head. "Still. We eat now, old or young." Osek responds, taking a bite of the moose. I agree and rip a chunk of meat away. I glance at the towering mountains, just shadows against the starry sky. Beyond them lies the Fox Kingdom. To the other side is the Wolf Kingdom, which is very close to bear land. Nearby, a grizzly shebear trots from the trees to drink. A cub follows, tripping. Osek raises his head and growls, looking ferocious with the moose blood on his chin. "Osek!" I snarl, hitting his shoulder with a paw. He backs off, hanging his head. He can be very territorial. The shebear curls her lip to reveal sharp teeth, looking equally ferocious. "Stay back, unless you wish to die." She snaps. Her quivering cub huddles against her, his eyes wide. Osek turns away. "I meant no harm. I apologize." "You'd better." She narrows her eyes and nudges her cub into the woods. Osek sighs. "What is it?" I ask. "I snapped at a mother!" He roars. I flinch. "You see this? I am turning vicious." Osek sighs. "It doesn't matter. Some lash out at times." I assure him. "Fine. But something is wrong." I can't help but agree with him.