News about Peter’s books and life. Earlier posts were thoughts from Peter as they occurred to him.

Celebrating Detective Pibble of the Yard

4 December 2016

Brilliantly imaginative…wonderfully convincing. Observer

A first-class detective story by any standards…excellent, gripping, intelligent and original. Times Literary Supplement

A classical detective story (and a damn good one). The Times

Probably the most splendid debut in crime fiction for several years. Edmund Crispin writing in the Sunday Times

Reading the glowing reviews of Peter’s first crime novel, The Glass-sided Ants Nest (published in the UK as Skin Deep for reasons Peter explains on the book’s page), it is possibly not surprising that it went on to win the Crime Writers Association Golden Dagger Award that year (1968).

This was the introduction of Peter’s unusual detective, Superintendent Pibble of the Yard (whom Christopher Fowler, writing in The Independent described as “…an earthy investigator who does his best thinking in the pub, with ‘good bitter, fresh bread, mousetrap, bangers‘“).


Tefuga: BBC Interview and Review

23 November 2016

There are very few recordings of Peter talking about his books publicly available. The BBC obituary programme, Last Word, included a couple of very short bursts of Peter talking about his writing but there is little else. So we were delighted to find that the BBC World Service’s Meridian programme has a 1986 recording available to listeners via BBCiPlayer, which includes both an interview with Peter and a review of the just published Tefuga.

In Tefuga, Peter returns to Africa (this time to Nigeria) in a story both set in the present day (1986) and in the past (1923). Described as an “amusing and elegantly structured tour de force…” by The New York Times, it is easy to see that the background and themes draw upon both his own childhood in Southern Africa and his parents’ experiences as newly weds there in the 1920s.


Donations in Peter’s Memory

9 January 2016

Peter left a note with his will to ask that any donations in his memory be made to one of his three nominated charities: Save the Children; Alzheimer’s Society and/or Médecins Sans Frontières.

We have set up a Just Giving Memory Page for Peter, linking a donation page for each of these three charities.


Obituaries and Other Tributes

1 January 2016

The news of Peter Dickinson’s death on 16 December 2015 was widely covered in the UK press, with obituaries in:

The Telegraph

The Guardian

The Independent

The Times

There were also obituaries in The New York Times, School Library Journal, Le Figaro and The Hindu as well as shorter pieces in many other news outlets all round the world.


Ichthyosaurs and Emma Tupper’s Diary

21 February 2015

posted by Philippa

The discovery of a fossil of a hitherto unknown species of ichthyosaur hitting the news in the UK this week prompted me to ask Peter whether he had been following the story and whether the ichthyosaur had been the inspiration for the monster in Emma Tupper’s Diary.

Emma Tupper cover

My memory had let me down. The illustration in the original edition of the book was of a plesiosaur cryptoclidus oxoniensis, drawn by B. H. Newman.

Not an ichthyosaur after all but I was still interested to know what had led Peter to this ancient creature.

Q: Where did the idea for the plesiosaur in Emma Tupper come from?

Peter: A university friend of mine lived on West coast of Scotland a few miles away from Loch Morar. They invited me to stay a couple of times and I heard the legend of a monster in the loch.

Q: Why did you think that it might be a plesiosaur?

Peter: I didn’t. If there was a loch monster, the idea that a single monster could survive that long would be ridiculous. So it had to be a tribe of monsters. They had to stay hidden, therefore they could only come out at night. I made sure that they wouldn’t have been much known about as they lived in an underwater cave and only came out to hunt after dark.


Writing Emma Tupper's Diary

9 February 2014

I’ve been trying to remember where I got the idea for Emma Tupper’s Diary, but without success. Some things are clear enough. Sixty or so years ago I stayed a couple of times with a university friend who lived on the west coast of Scotland—you could see the islands of Skye and Rhum and Eigg from the front windows against the sunset. There was rumoured to be a monster in Loch Morar, a few miles away.