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Hindsight by Peter Dickinson
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Hindsight (original 1983; edition 1983)

by Peter Dickinson

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954127,077 (3.42)2
Member:jjmcgaffey
Title:Hindsight
Authors:Peter Dickinson
Info:Pantheon Books (1983), Hardcover, 191 pages
Collections:Your library, Read, Read this year, Discard, Working on, BOMBs, Temp working
Rating:***
Tags:__make_cover, __scan_cover, _hardback, _import170120, !Amazon, !dunno, !OpenRoadMedia, Fic, Mystery, _eBOMB

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Hindsight by Peter Dickinson (1983)

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Showing 4 of 4
Utterly weird. The mystery - the murder - is a secondary plot at most; the book is really about the author and how he wrote it. Except that I truly can't tell if the author that it's about is Peter, or fictional. It's a story within a story, possibly within a story. I don't much like any of the characters - even as the boy Paul saw them, let alone as the adult Paul figures out their actions and motivations. It's a problem I have with a lot of Dickinson's books - very well-written stories about quite unpleasant people doing quite unpleasant things. Definitely worth reading, though I doubt I'll reread. ( )
  jjmcgaffey | Jul 6, 2017 |
Like Dickinson's Death of a Unicorn, which appeared a year later, this is a flashback novel, by a writer, told in past and present streams, intermingled in this case, where events from decades before, including a death, are re-visited and reinterpreted. This is a multi-layered tale -- the title is a pun I didn't catch until I was two-thirds done -- rich in detail and observation. Though the main character is an author of detective novels, this is not that kind of mystery. The murder itself doesn't occur until 3/4 of the way through the book., and what follows is not detection, but an extended addition of 1/2 and 1/2 and 1/2 and 1/2 to get a possible sum of 2. Unfortunately, the book's most interesting elements are offset by numerous multi-page infodumps, that eventually dominate the concluding portions. ( )
  ChrisRiesbeck | Aug 24, 2010 |
A most unusual and interesting yarn of the flashback kind, set largely in a WWII relocated private school ( )
  nholmes | Feb 13, 2007 |
The blurb on this one pulled me in - as did the endorsement on the cover by HRF Keating, whom I consider to be one of the most under-rated mystery writers around. 'It flies about as high as the detective novel can go', he says.

The blurb says:
"The shadow of WW2 falling over London seemed very far away to 12 year old Paul Rogers as he roamed the park around the great Devon house to which his school had been evacuated. In his wanderings, he encountered Mad Molly Benison, a notorious beauty of the 1920s. At her Sunday teas in the conservatory, he toasted crumpets for the naval officers who came to visit her ... and there observed the events leading up to a night of tragedy. All that was 40 years ao. Now a successful novelist, Paul agrees to help with a biography of Mad Molly. But, as the long-buried memories well up, the images change. For perhaps that tragic deathso long ago was really MURDER."

Hmmmm. Maybe I was having an off day - but I really couldn't get into this. The narrator changes from first person author to third person author-as-child, with headspinning inetrfaces. I couldn't relate to any of the characters and found the setting and behaviours unreedemingly old fashioned. I stayed to the end, but more out of single-minded obstinancy than out of any interest in who, what or where. ( )
1 vote Jawin | Jan 4, 2007 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Peter Dickinsonprimary authorall editionscalculated
de Toledo, RegineCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kelly, SusannahCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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The author has constructed a book that is at the same time a fascinating puzzle. A beautiful if sinister evocation of childhood in a particular time and place, and a meditation on Time itself, in which events as distant as the First World War and as recent as today's obituary column shift, change shape, circle and renew the formal pattern.
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