Split Code: Dolly and the Nanny Birdby Dorothy Dunnett
Joanna Emerson, a trained nursery nurse, is hired as a nanny, albeit reluctantly, to the infant heir of a cosmetics fortune. She then becomes caught up in a complex kidnap plot. She is also an expert in codes and her purpose is to gain an insight into the opposition plan? But how does kidnapping further anyone's interests? Commencing in Winnipeg, Manitoba, the
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Joanna Emerson, a trained nursery nurse, is hired as a nanny, albeit reluctantly, to the infant heir of a cosmetics fortune. She then becomes caught up in a complex kidnap plot. She is also an expert in codes and her purpose is to gain an insight into the opposition plan? But how does kidnapping further anyone's interests? Commencing in Winnipeg, Manitoba, the story moves quickly through locations, as with many of Dunnett's stories. On this occasion Joanna ends up on a crippled yacht off the coast of Yugoslavia. As always, both behind and aside from the plot and it's inevitable conclusion is enigmatic portrait painter, yachtsman and former spy, Johnson Johnson. Bullets are flying, most of them in Joanna's direction. Just how can this end?
Meet the Author
Dorothy, Lady Dunnett, was born in Dunfermline, Scotland in 1923, the only daughter of an engineer, Alexander Halliday, and his wife Dorothy. Whilst gifted academically and musically, she was not encouraged to further her talents by attending university, and instead joined the civil service in Scotland as an assistant press officer. 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.
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A New Dawn Chapter Five I stalk the field mouse, my almond-shaped, brown eyes narrowed with concentration. A twig snaps, and a small white shefox burts out of the tall reddish-gold grass. The mouse darts off. "Snow!" I groan. A brown shefox follows Snow. "Lighten up, Auburn." The brown shefox tells me. "Yeah, whatever, Light." I retort. "We'll see how you like it when one of my friends scares away YOUR prey! And in winter!" I fluff out my bright reddish fur against the cold air. "C'mon, Light. We can hunt somewhere else." Snow barks. "Okay." Light agrees. As they leave, she grumbles, "Boys." "I know." Snow sighs in annoyance. "Not all, though. Just some of them." I huff and stalk off. 'Those two always have to try to rub me the wrong way! I'll show them who can hunt!' I think angrily. Something flashes at the edge of my vision. A white pelt. I drop into an expert hunter's crouch and move forward slowly, my bushy, white-tipped tail hovering over the ground. The rabbit snuffles at the roots of a maple. Trees reach for the sky here and there, but the land is mostly just rusty grass. I lunge out and bite down on the rabbit's neck. I raise my head and look around with pride, then remember no one's watching. My tail droops. Those wolves are so lucky! They hunt together, and move as one. Us foxes are unorganized and live more independantly, but not completely alone. "Auburn?" A red shefox pokes her head out. "Oh, hi, Leaf!" I say. Leaf, at least, is friendly. "Hi. Um, there's a meeting. Important. Light and Snow are already heading back, so no worries." She explains quickly. "Nice catch, by the way." She adds. I flick my ear happily. Someone noticed! "Thanks." Leaf nods and heads off. I follow her to the meeting place, wondering what's going on.
Dorothy Dunnett's series of books revolving around Johnson Johnson & his yacht, Dolly are silly, amusing romps around the world. Well written, light fun. For the reader who likes her mysteries to be a fast read. I've loved these books since they first came out & return again & again to these old friends.
This was published in 1976 as Dolly and the Nanny Bird. I love these stories, but have worn out, given away or lost all my old paperbacks. Now I can re-read them forever! a little dated now, since her characters were very hip for the time, but still action packed with strong female protagonists. No fainting lillies, these gals!