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Johnson Johnson Books In Order

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Publication Order of Johnson Johnson Books

Dolly and the Singing Bird (1968)Description / Buy at Amazon
Dolly and the Cookie Bird (1970)Description / Buy at Amazon
Dolly and the Doctor Bird (1971)Description / Buy at Amazon
Dolly and the Starry Bird (1973)Description / Buy at Amazon
Dolly and the Nanny Bird (1976)Description / Buy at Amazon
Dolly and the Bird of Paradise (1983)Description / Buy at Amazon
Moroccan Traffic (1991)Description / Buy at Amazon

Chronological Order of Johnson Johnson Books

Dolly and the Nanny Bird(1976)Description / Buy at Amazon
Moroccan Traffic(1991)Description / Buy at Amazon
Dolly and the Singing Bird(1968)Description / Buy at Amazon
Dolly and the Cookie Bird(1970)Description / Buy at Amazon
Dolly and the Doctor Bird(1971)Description / Buy at Amazon
Dolly and the Starry Bird(1973)Description / Buy at Amazon
Dolly and the Bird of Paradise(1983)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Johnson Johnson Mystery Books

What and who is Johnson Johnson? Dorothy Dunnett wrote a series of (8) eight mystery novels with Johnson as the central character, but still very little is actually known about him. A true man of mystery within a mystery; and that is where the fun starts. The series was written by Dunnet between the years 1968 and 1992 with each novel set in time in which it was written, this covers a lot of ground and brings in a whole other aspect to Johnson, we get to watch him age. Interestingly the author, in addition to being an acclaimed historical novelist was also a portrait painter.

Throughout the series he is described as a portrait painter, fixer of young women’s lives, adventurer, spy and a walking chemical factory; all accurate at one time or another. Johnson’s health is never discussed, & his eyes too are not ever seen. His clothes are clothes typically looked slept-in, & his-hair is moppy and black. The one defining thing we know with any certainty about Johnson Johnson is that he is the captain and owner of the Dolly.

Even though Dorothy is a setting as opposed to a person the Dolly is, for all intents and purposes, a key character in all of the books. Johnson’s beloved yacht is more than mere transportation although she serves that purpose as well, she is the-setting for all manner of adventure and action as can be found on the high seas. And it should not be overlooked that six of the seven titles in the series contain her name, starting with Dolly & the Singing Bird. One has to wonder why the seventh book has a change in the formula, right?

A favorite description of the Dolly can be found in the fifth novel, “…the elegant-sheer of fifty 6 feet of a white top-side;the tailored-teak of a deck, together with its brass-sparkling;the pale soaring-poles of her masts. Orderly, graceful, and impeccably workmanlike.”

The Storyline

There are some quirky (yet endearing) characteristics which run through each installment of the series. For example, each of the books is narrated by a-woman whose role in-the story is brought about by her profession. Also, the 1st sentence in all of the books makes reference to bifocals. Not surprisingly, Johnson Johnson wears bifocals. The first sentence of the first book is, “Men in bifocal glasses. I spit”.

When we first meet Johnson in Dolly & the Singing Bird, he is described by the books heroine Tina Rossi: “Of a 3rd man I had a 1st impression only-of a pair of bifocal-glasses, their half-moons bright in-the light, &a great smile of the boundless vacuity.”

The plotline throughout the series, as mentioned previously, are set in-the time they were written and by definition – this is a mystery series after all – there is a mystery that needs solving (these mysteries are so entertaining you’re sort of hoping they go unsolved…maybe some do).

The first novel in the series, Dolly & the Singing Bird, sets the tone for future installments; The book is-narrated by the heroine, in this case an exalted opera singer by the name of Tina Rossi. Tina Rossi has a secret…a secret romance. When she arrives for a romantic rendezvous with Kenneth, – a top research scientist she does not find him, instead she finds a dead body! Along comes yachting artist Johnson Johnson who steps in to help her find Kenneth who is suspected of sabotage has been kidnapped and stashed somewhere along the route of a world famous yacht race. As I am sure you’ve guessed by now – nothing is going to stop Tina from finding him!

And yet the stories are not predictable, surprises abound. The dialogue is clever and often witty – with the type of double entendre which is too much difficult to write. In the second installment to the series, the names change but the story remains the same (so to speak) except that you should expect thing to remain the same or even be predictable in the world of Johnson Johnson.

In Dolly the Cookie Bird Notes our narrator is Sarah Cassells, who has just completed her training ass a chef. The location is the tropical and glitzy island of Ibiza, playground of the rich and famous. When she hears of her father’s violent and brutal death on the island she refuses to believe he committed suicide and sets out to find the truth. As Ibiza prepares for its annual festival event become complicated and macabre, luckily Johnson Johnson, master of mystery sails in on Dolly and together they search for the truth, but does Sarah really want to know it!

As you can see the stories are involved, the characters are fleshed out and the settings, including the Bahamas, Rome and Marrakesh, are so fantastically described you think you are there.
Characters do not typically reoccur in the series – the nature of a life at sea. There are two exceptions to the rule; Spry – the Dolly’s skipper, and even he does not make an appearance in all of the books. The extent of what we know about him? He is a small, middle aged man and he’s on Johnsons side. The other character is, of course, Dolly. Ever faithful.
One thing to be aware of is that some of-the books have been given American titles in addition to their British titles – but not all of them. And, they have all been given “new” titles as opposed to their British titles, although the new titles and British titles are sometimes the same. If I lived by an ocean, I wouldd start looking for Johnson Johnson to sail up and help me out with this little mystery.

The author, Dorothy Dunnett (1923 – 2001) was a historical novelist, who spent her life in Scotland. Dunnett is probably best known-for her publications about Francis-Crawford of Lymond, The Lymond Chronicles, and the prequel, The House of Niccolò. She also wrote King Hereafter (1982), about the historical Macbeth. It is been rumored that on her passing she left notes and a vague outline for the eighth Johnson Johnson novel.

The wife of long-time Scotsman editor Alastair Dunnett, Dorothy Dunnett was virtually unknown in the United States, although her following has grown over the years, enough so that there are several Web sites and fanzines, her books are still relatively unknown.

Book Series In Order » Characters » Johnson Johnson

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