David Dickinson was born in Dublin in the Republic of Ireland. He moved to England to study Classics (Latin and Ancient Greek) at the University of Cambridge. And when he finished these university studies he began work at the British Broadcasting Service (BBC). He settled in London with his family and edited several of the BBC’s key programs, including Newsnight (a news and analysis show) and Panorama (a documentary style show which often features undercover reporting on hard hitting current issues). It was around this time, however, that Dickinson also started pursuing his other passion in earnest: writing. Dickinson is known for his series of crime thriller novels, which often focus on aristocratic figures, luxurious destinations and the crimes and secrets of the rich and famous. One of the shows that Dickinson worked on during his time at the BBC was Monarchy, a three part series that traced the fortunes and prospects of the British monarchy. This fascination with aristocracy and monarchy has definitely manifested itself in his published creative writing, too. He has created many fictional characters such as one of his key heroes, the detective Lord Francis Powerscourt who find themselves enmeshed in the Machiavellian machinations of Britain’s aristocratic elite.
Books written by David Dickinson.
Dickinson’s oeuvre is very large, and there are several different series of books within it. One of the key series features the aforementioned Lord Francis Powerscourt who, in each novel, find himself embroiled in a new case to solve. Powerscourt solves crimes involving church figures, other lords and ladies, and many other high profile people.
Dickinson tends to include a historical theme in his novels. The Lord Francis Powerscourt books are set in the nineteenth century, and deal with a fictionalized version of political events of that time. For example, the first novel in the series is called ‘Good Night Sweet Prince’. This title comes from William Shakespeare’s play ‘Hamlet’. The novel deals with the death of Prince Eddy, Queen Victoria’s (fictional) grandson. Though many of his novels are set in England, Dickinson’s hero, Lord Powerscourt, is Irish, like Dickinson himself.
As well as the Powerscourt series, Dickinson’s other most famous book series features Mycroft Holmes. Mycroft Holmes is the brother of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous British detective Sherlock Holmes. Dickinson carries on Conan Doyle’s tradition by exploring Mycroft’s own ability to solve cases. These books will definitely appeal to fans of Sherlock Holmes!
Now that we have got a general idea of Dickinson’s main themes and his writing style, let us look at a couple of his early works in more detail. The works that we will look at are ‘Mycroft Holmes and the Adventure of the Silver Birches’ (which is the first book in the Mycroft Holmes series) and ‘Death and the Jubilee’ (the second book in the Lord Francis Powerscourt series).
Mycroft Holmes and the Adventure of the Silver Birches.
In this book, we first meet Mycroft Holmes, as he is portrayed by Dickinson. Sherlock Holmes, the famous sleuth, has gone into retirement. He prefers a life of keeping bees in the south of England to solving crimes! So, it is up to the Police Commissioner Lestrade and Mycroft Holmes to get to work when they learn that enemies of Britain are planning to debase the English pound. In particular, they find themselves on the trail of a mysterious figure. Will this person’s identity reveal just what the plot is, and who is behind it? Will catching the mysterious figure enable Mycroft to prevent the currency being debased? These are questions that the reader is led to ask themselves as Dickinson takes them on a suspenseful, gripping rush through the streets of London and beyond.
In this book, Dickinson is very deliberately attempting to recreate the way in which Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote the original Sherlock Holmes stories. As such, fans of Sherlock Holmes will definitely enjoy this novel. However, even if you know nothing of the original Sherlock Holmes tales, you will definitely be able to enjoy the thrilling Mycroft Holmes series in its own right. No prior knowledge of the characters is required!
Myrcroft Holmes and the Adventure of the Silver Birches is also a relatively short novel. This makes it great for people who want to get to know the characters and see if the series is for them before progressing on to the other books. Dickinson also published a condensed form of the entire series in an ‘omnibus’ version for fans to enjoy if they prefer.
Death and the Jubilee.
Having introduced Lord Powerscourt in ‘Good Night Sweet Prince’ (which was briefly described above), Dickinson returns to what was to become one of his most famous and long running characters in a second book called ‘Death and the Jubilee’. In this novel, published in 2002 but set in 1897, Britain is preparing to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria, their longest standing monarch ever. However, murder is afoot and Lord Powerscourt finds himself caught in a race against time to ensure that the Jubilee celebrations can continue as planned!
The mystery begins when a corpse is dragged from the river in London on the day before the Jubilee is due to begin. The corpse is not only headless, but it also does not have any hands. Powerscourt takes on the case, trying to find out the identity of the murder victim. However, when his search takes him to a grand mansion in the countryside of Oxfordshire, events take a sinister turn. He finds that this is not just any old case. Rather, it is one that involves himself and his family. He now has to race to solve the case in order to ensure that he and his family do not find themselves in any danger.
This book is notable because it tangles the personal life of the detective with the intricacies of a murder case that has much wider ramifications. Of course, this is a rather common device in crime fiction and one that fans of this genre are known to enjoy. So, this book is one that will help to get readers hooked on the entire Lord Francis Powerscourt series of novels.Book Series In Order » Authors » David Dickinson