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Dougal Books In Order

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Publication Order of William Dougal Books

Caroline Minuscule (1982)Description / Buy at Amazon
Waiting for the End of the World (1984)Description / Buy at Amazon
Our Fathers' Lies (1985)Description / Buy at Amazon
An Old School Tie (1986)Description / Buy at Amazon
Freelance Death (1987)Description / Buy at Amazon
Blood Relation (1990)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Sleeping Policeman (1992)Description / Buy at Amazon
Odd Man Out (1993)Description / Buy at Amazon

The Dougal series is a collection of novels written by Andrew Taylor. The novels are described as crime fiction with elements of adventure.

+The Story

The Dougal series constitutes Andrew Taylor’s first attempt at writing. In fact, Caroline Minuscule, the first book in the series was Andrew Taylor’s first ever novel. The books center on William Dougal.

The primary protagonist of the series, Dougal is a historian with a post graduate degree. When these books first came out they were unique in nature primarily because William Dougal was considered to be somewhat of an immoral character.

It was unheard of for heroes in crime dramas to flout the law the way Dougal repeatedly does and to act in ways that were less than honorable. In the present age, Dougal isn’t anything special in that regard.

Some people might go so far as to call him amoral in that he doesn’t go out of his way to do bad things but he also doesn’t strive to do good. However, even that description is a little dated.

The Dougal Series’ defining feature is the fact that the protagonist is flexible when it comes to morality, and that is his advantage in most situations. Dougal will do things that others will frown upon. However, the idea that he is a lesser criminal going after worse criminals doesn’t hold up, though it is easy to see how the concept might have helped the books find an audience back in the 1980s.

A historian at the start of the story, while Dougal does show selfish tendencies, he almost always finds his way back to the right path, and his heart is almost always in the right place.

However, that rarely seems to matter because his most innocuous actions eventually drive him into deep trouble. Before long, the historian finds that he might be more suited to work as a private investigator, especially with his penchant for attracting trouble.

The books have been criticized for being shallow when it comes to the plot.

+The Author

Andrew Taylor is a British Author born in 1951. Andrew attended institutions like The King’s School, Ely, and Woodbridge before eventually getting his MA in Library, Archive and Information Science from University College London.

Andrew Taylor’s career began in 1982 when ‘Caroline Minuscule’, his first novel, was published. He went on to pen several more novels in the Dougal series. Though, people know the Andrew Taylor more for the Roth Trilogy than anything.

The books gave Andrew a boost in the literary arena, with the Roth Trilogy eventually coming to the small screen as a three-part drama series that was shown in 2007 on ITV.

For his efforts as a writer, Andrew has taken home accolades like the John Creasey Memorial Award, the Historical Dagger award and the Cartier Diamond Dagger.

He has also been shortlisted for a Martin Beck Award and an Edgar Award.

When Andrew isn’t writing novels, he is producing reviews for publications like The Independent and the Spectator. Andrew, who is married and has two children, has been known to dabble in historical fiction.

+Caroline Minuscule

Everyone knows William Dougal. The postgraduate student of history has some truly expensive tastes, and the less said about his moral fiber the better. When his tutor is killed, Dougal doesn’t bat an eye.

In fact, when Dougal stumbles upon the body, he opts to slip away and get on with his business rather than calling the police. Dougal thinks he’s steering clear of a whole slew of trouble. But trouble still finds him, taking the form of James Hanbury who informs him that there was no better authority than his detested and deceased tutor when it came to a medieval script called Caroline Minuscule. Dougal is soon mired in matters of crime and murder.

This is the first book in the Dougal series. It is also the first book Andrew Taylor ever wrote, and it shows. The plot isn’t particularly solid, and there is a lack of proper depth and characterization.

But the tale is still an entertaining one. Dougal’s story begins when he stumbles upon the dead body of his dissertation advisor. Noting that there are no witnesses in the vicinity, Dougal slips away.

His decision leads to all manner of intrigue and murder. This book definitely lacks the impact and shock it was designed to deliver when it was first published back in 1982. Andrew clearly sought to throw his readers off guard with the amoral nature his protagonist.

However, very little about Dougal’s actions would be considered shocking today. Andrew still makes Dougal an interesting individual. Dougal is somewhat of a slacker, living off a small inheritance and spending his days making observations about academics in general and the people he comes across.

He isn’t the most interesting protagonist in the world but he definitely makes this book worth the read.

+Our Fathers’ Lies

A local historian is dead. Some people think his drowning was suicide. However, Major Ted Dougal isn’t so certain. With his son William Dougal in toe, Ted sets off on a dangerous trail that will test his resourcefulness.

The third novel in the Dougal series is a mixed bag. Most of the complaints it attracts revolve around the convenient occurrences that surround William Dougal and his father.

When Celia Prentisse’s father drowns, she asks her neighbor Ted Dougal for help. Because Celia and William have unfinished business, it isn’t long before he involves himself in her affairs.

The father and son team follows the clues surrounding Celia’s father’s death to an arsenic-related murder from the 1930s. Alfred Corner also becomes a subject, with the question of his status as a hero or a traitor taking center stage.

This book tries to juggle too many pieces. It also makes things a little too easy. Andrew begins to ratchet up the tension by throwing more deaths into the mix, but his tendency to avail easy solutions to every problem facing Ted and William ruins the resolution.

William Dougal, in particular, comes off as being a little too talented. Even more irritating is his very convenient connections. Nothing about this book works. Andrew Taylor has all the right pieces but he is unable to bring them together into a well-written story.

Book Series In Order » Characters » Dougal

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