Peter Dickinson has died

Peter Dickinson was an exceptional writer of mysteries, with the weirdest mind producing the weirdest plots in the business. He started at the top, with his first two mysteries winning the Gold Dagger, the British best mystery award. In 1974 he produced The Poison Oracle, a candidate for best mystery ever, solved by a chimpanzee taught to use blocks as language. Yes, really. That was a time when genre books didn’t have to fit into tiny niches and glorious eccentricity was celebrated. That time quickly passed, so Dickinson turned to writing children’s books, naturally winning another slew of awards.

He died on December 16, aged 88, looking like a character from a Harry Potter movie. His second wife, the famous fantasy writer Robin McKinley, survives him.

H.R.F. Keating wrote a fine appreciation of his for Mystery Scene. Dickinson is a bit of an acquired taste, but if you acquire it a lot of great reading will come your way.

Thank you for posting.
It reminded me of a single episode of The Weathermonger TV adaptation that I saw when young and had forgotten.
Will be looking up his life and works now.

I enjoyed “King and Joker” quite a bit.

Brilliant writer, charming man. I was lucky enough to know and socialize with him in New York and London in the 1990s, as I served as his American editor on his three final adult novels: Play Dead, The Yellow Room Conspiracy, Some Deaths before Dying.

One of my favorites too, with the alternate 20th century history of the British Royal family. The joke overhanging the entire novel is that NOTHING ELSE in the 20th century is any different, which show how much influence the British Royal family has on reality.

Another favorite is The Last Houseparty, from 1982. Set at a Great English Stately Home, the chapters alternate between the 1930s, its last days of glory, and the present, when it’s just another tourist attraction. The 1930s mystery is solved in the present day by one of the government funcs responsible for the upkeep of the place…

Very cool. I’m glad he was one of the good ones.