Dorothy Dunnett


Dorothy was of course best known for her two major series of historical novels.
Since the main listing is in alphabetical order, the following links allow you to jump to each one quickly.

The Lymond Chronicles

1 Game of Kings 2 Queens' Play
3 The Disorderly Knights 4 Pawn in Frankincense
5 The Ringed Castle 6 Checkmate

The House of Niccolo

1 Niccolo Rising 2 Spring of the Ram
3 Race of Scorpions 4 Scales of Gold
5 Unicorn Hunt 6 To Lie with Lions
7 Caprice and Rondo 8 Gemini


King Hereafter

In addition to these series there is also the single volume book which some consider to be her finest work.
King Hereafter is the story of the real Macbeth (as opposed to the Shakespearian fiction). Written between finishing Lymond and beginning Niccolo it took many years of research. During this time she became convinced that Macbeth and Earl Thorfinn, who history regarded as cousins, were in fact one and the same person and the novel is written partly to illustrate this theory.

The Johnson Johnson series

Dorothy has also written a number of detective novels which were first published under her maiden name with different titles in the UK & USA, and were subsequently retitled again. (My thanks to Elaine Thompson for extra details of the old US titles). These changes were apparently made to avoid any possible offense to the then US President's wife - Ladybird Johnson.
The books are often referred to as the Johnson Johnson series or the Dolly series (Dolly being the name of the hero's yacht!). None of the JJ books are currently available (apart from a couple in audiobook format) despite still being listed in some databases.

  Original UK Title Renamed US title Renamed UK Title
1 Dolly & the Bird of Paradise   Tropical Issue
2 Dolly & the Singing Bird Photogenic Soprano Rum Affair
3 Dolly & the Cookie Bird Murder in the Round Ibiza Surprise
4 Dolly & the Doctor Bird Match for a Murderer Operation Nassau
5 Dolly & the Starry Bird Murder in Focus Roman Nights
6 Dolly & the Nanny Bird   Split Code
7   Send a Fax to the Kasbah Moroccan Traffic

Dunnett Companions, Additional Reading, and Music

The Complete Listing of Books

Dorothy has been with various publishers on both sides of the Atlantic at various times. These changes of publisher have meant that there have been times when her books have not been available due to the "grace periods" in between the old editions being allowed to fade out of circulation and the new ones coming in. That was certainly the case when I first set up the Dunnett pages on the James Thin site in 1995. Happily that has changed and all her Lymond and Niccolo books plus King Hereafter are currently available in various editions, but the Johnson Johnson books unfortunately are not.

The following list is based on my knowledge of the UK editions and new US editions, along with the current entries from various bibliographic sources for the older US editions. I cannot guarantee the details of the latter, and I have heard from some of our US contacts that while the Buccaneer editions are sometimes available in the US, the Amereon editions seem to be impossible to obtain. They are both suppliers of Library editions of books which are often out of print, and since these aren't usually sold through the book trade that explains why they have been difficult to trace. Fortunately now that Vintage have produced US paperback editions of the Niccolos as well as the Lymonds this is far less important than it was a few years ago.
I have noticed that the UK version of Books in Print as well as the rival BookData, still sometimes list the old Arrow/Hutchinson editions as being in print. This is definitely wrong as all rights to these passed to Michael Joseph/Penguin a few years ago.
Prices are the latest full cover prices that I'm aware of but may well vary between different suppliers

Items "greened out" are out of print

You can see most of the recent covers in the Book Covers page.

  • Caprice and Rondo
    • UK. pbk, Penguin, Dec 1998, £8.99, 0140252304
    • UK. trade pbk, Michael Joseph, May 1998, £12.99, 0718140826
    • UK. hdbk, Michael Joseph, Nov 1997, price £16.99, 0718140818
    • US. pbk, Vintage, Aug 1999, $15.00, 0375706127
    • US. Cloth, Knopf, May 1998, US$27.50, 0679454772

  • Checkmate
    • UK. pbk, Penguin, March 1999, £7.99, 0140282386
    • UK. Trade pbk, Michael Joseph, April 1998, £12.99, 0718141296 Out of Print
    • US. pbk, Vintage, Sept 97, US$15.95 0679777482
    • US. Library Binding, Buccaneer Bks, 1983, US$39.95 0899663192
    • US. Cloth, Amereon Ltd: 1976, US$34.95 0848812921

  • Disorderly Knights
    • UK. pbk, Penguin, March 1999, £9.99 , 0140282459
    • UK. Trade pbk, Michael Joseph, March 1997, £12.50 , 0718141261 Out of Print
    • UK. audiobook unabridged, read by Andrew Napier, 25 hours, WF Howes, Nov 2001, £59.95 + VAT, 1841972940
    • US. pbk, Vintage, July 1997, $US15.00 0679777458
    • US. Library Binding, Buccaneer Bks: 1981, US$39.95 0899662951
    • US. Cloth, Amereon Ltd: 1976, US$31.95 0848812972

  • Dolly and the Bird of Paradise (see also Tropical Issue)
    • UK. Audiobook - Read by Maxine Howe. 10 cassettes, 735min. ISIS AudioBooks: Jan 95, £49.29 1856959481
      This has recently appeared on a new ISIS website, and they seem to have greatly reduced the price to £18.99
      Contact them directly at

  • Game of Kings
    • UK. pbk, Penguin, Feb 1999, £9.99, 0140282394
    • UK. Trade pbk, Michael Joseph, Nov 1996, £12.99, 0718141245 Out of Print
    • UK. audiobook unabridged, read by Samuel Gillies, 25 hours, WF Howes, 2000, £57.95 + VAT, 1841970794
    • US. pbk, Vintage, May 1997, $US15.00, 0679777431
    • US. Library Binding, Buccaneer Bks: 1983, US$39.95 0899663184
    • US. Cloth, Amereon Ltd: 1976, US$22.95, 0848812980

  • Gemini
    • UK. pbk, Penguin, June 2001, £9.99 0140252312
    • UK. hdbk, Michael Joseph, June 2000, £17.99 0718140834
    • US. hdbk, Knopf, July 2000 $27.50 0679454780
    • US. pbk, Vintage, May 2001 $15.00 0375708561

  • Ibiza Surprise
    • UK. n.e.of "Dolly and the Cookie Bird" (was also called "Murder in the Round" in the USA)
      pbk. Arrow Bks: Oct 93, £4.99, 0099257114 Out of Print

  • King Hereafter
    • UK. hdbk, Michael Joseph, reissued 2000 £20.00 0718116615 Currently being reported reprint under consideration
    • US. pbk, Vintage, Oct 1998, US$16.95 0375704035
    • US. Library Binding, Buccaneer Bks: 1991, US$44.95 0899668089
    • US. Cloth, Amereon Ltd: 1976, US$45.95 0848812999

  • The Lymond Poetry
    • UK. pbk, Penguin, June 2003 10.99 0141012447

  • Moroccan Traffic
    (was also called "Send a Fax to the Kasbah" in the USA)
    • UK. pbk. ArrowBks: Aug 93, £4.99 0099251310 Out of Print
    • UK. Cloth, Chatto: May 91, £3.99 0701133953 Out of Print
    • UK. Audiobook - Read by Judith Whale 12 cassettes, 930min. ISIS Audio Books: May 94, £55.81 1856957993
      This has recently appeared on a new ISIS website, and they seem to have greatly reduced the price to £19.99
      Contact them directly at

  • Niccolo Rising
    • UK. pbk. Penguin: Nov 88, £8.99 0140113916
    • UK. Collector's ed Cloth, M.Joseph, Mar 94, £20.00, 071813611X Out of Print
    • UK. Audiobook - Read by Steven Pacey 16 cassettes Chivers Audio Books Mar 95 £58.69 0745164781
      This title was effectively remaindered by Chivers and it is now on special offer from who are selling it at around £16.50 plus VAT and postage.
    • US. pbk, Vintage, Apr 99, US$15.95 0375704779
    • US. Library Binding, BuccaneerBks: 1992, US$33.95 0899669638
    • US. Dell: Jul 88, US$4.95 0440200725 Out of Print
    • US. Cloth, Knopf: Aug 86, US$18.95 0394531078

  • Operation Nassau
    • UK. n.e.of "Dolly and the Doctor Bird" (was also called "Match for a Murderer" in the USA)
      pbk. Arrow Bks: Aug 93, £4.99 0099257211 Out of Print

  • Pawn in Frankincense
    • UK. pbk, Penguin, Due March 1999, £7.99 , 0140282467
    • UK. Trade pbk, Michael Joseph, March 1997, £12.50 071814127X
    • US. pbk, Vintage, July 1997, $US15.00, 0679777466
    • US. Library Binding, Buccaneer Bks: 1983, US$39.95 0899663214
    • US. Cloth, Amereon Ltd: 1976, US$33.95 0848813006

  • Queens' Play
    • UK. pbk, Penguin, Feb 1999, £8.99 0140282408
    • UK. audiobook, unabridged, read by Andrew Napier, 20½ hours, WF Howes, Sept 2001, £49.95 + VAT, 1841972657
    • UK. Trade pbk, Michael Joseph, Nov 1996, £11.99 0718141253 Out of Print
    • US. pbk, Vintage, May 1997, $US15.00 067977744X
    • US. Library Binding, Buccaneer Bks: 1983, US$39.95 0899663206
    • US. Cloth, Amereon Ltd: 1976, US$21.95 0848813014

  • Race of Scorpions
    • UK. pbk, Penguin, Aug 90, £9.99 0140112650
    • US. pbk, Vintage, Apr 99, US$15.00 0375704795
    • UK. Cloth, M Joseph, Nov 89, £15.99 0718132092 Out of print
    • US. Cloth, Knopf: Apr 90, US$19.95 039457107X No longer listed in US Books in Print

  • Ringed Castle
    • UK. pbk, Penguin, Jan 1999, £8.99 014027989X
    • UK. Trade pbk, Michael Joseph, Nov 1997, £12.99 0718141288
      Out of Print
    • US. pbk, Vintage, Sept 1997, US$15.00 0679777474
    • US. Library Binding, Buccaneer Bks: 1983, US$39.95 0899663222
    • US. Cloth, Amereon Ltd: 1976, US$32.95 0848813022

  • Roman Nights
    • UK. n.e. of "Dolly and the Starry Bird" (was also called "Murder in Focus" in the USA)
      pbk. Arrow Bks: Dec 93, £4.99 0099257017 Out of Print

  • Rum Affair
    • UK. n.e. of "Dolly and the Singing Bird" (was also called "Photogenic Soprano" in the USA.)
      pbk. Arrow Bks: May 91, £3.99 0099846500 Out of Print

  • Scales of Gold
    • UK. pbk. Penguin, May 93, £9.99, 0140112669
    • UK. Cloth, M Joseph, Oct 91, £14.99, 0718132084
    • US. pbk, Vintage, US$15.00, 0375704809
    • US. pbk. Knopf: Apr 92, US$25.00 0394586271 Out of Print

    Scottish Highlands
  • Scottish Highlands (co-authored with Alastair Dunnett)
    • UK. Cloth, Mainstream Pub Co, May 88, £17.99 1851581499
      Mainstream have now (Nov '99) run out of copies of this and have no plans to reprint it in the forseeable future. It may be allowed to go out of print completely or it may be reissued at some future date.

  • Split Code
    • UK. n.e.of "Dolly and the Nanny Bird"
      pbk, Arrow Bks: Oct 93, £4.99 Out of Print

  • Spring of the Ram
    • UK. pbk. Penguin, Nov 88, £8.99, 0140113592
    • US. pbk, Vintage, Apr 99, US$15.95 0375704787
    • UK. Cloth, M Joseph, Oct 91, £35.00, 0718137051 Out of Print
    • UK. Collector's ed with marker ribbon, M Joseph, Oct 92, £20.00 0718136098 Out of Print
    • US. Dell: Sep 89, US$4.95 0440203554 Out of Print
    • US. Library Binding, Buccaneer Bks: 1992, US$33.95 0899669646

  • To Lie with Lions
    • UK. pbk. Penguin, Dec 96, £9.99, 0140112685
    • UK. Trade pbk, M Joseph, May 96 £11.99, 0718140850
    • US. pbk, Vintage, Aug 99, US$15.00 0375704825
    • UK. hdbk, M Joseph, Nov 95, £15.99, 0718132106 Out of Print
    • US. hdbk, Knopf, June 1996, $27.00, 0394586298 No longer listed in US Books in Print

  • Tropical Issue
    • UK. n.e. of "Dolly and the Bird of Paradise" pbk. Arrow Bks: May 91, £3.99 0099846608 Out of Print

  • Unicorn Hunt
    • UK. pbk. Penguin, Nov 94, £8.99 0140112677
    • UK. trade pbk. M Joseph, Apr 94, £9.99, 0718100301 Out of Print
    • UK. Cloth, M Joseph, Nov 93, £15.99 0718132114 Out of Print
    • US. pbk, Vintage, Jun 99, US$15.00 0375704817

Additional Reading

Another book of interest to all enthusiasts is:
The Dorothy Dunnett Companion by Elspeth Morrison
UK. hdbk, M Joseph, Nov 94, £17.99 0718137752 Out of Print
US, pbk, Vintage, July 2001, $15.00 0375725873
UK, pbk, Penguin, Dec 2001, £9.99 014100911X

Companion 1 This is an A-Z coverage of all the characters, places, and myriad background details that make Dorothy's books so enjoyable and richly textured. Elspeth Morrison is a research historian with degrees in Renaissance History and had to virtually recreate the original research which Dorothy very honestly admitted had not been properly documented at first.
Unfortunately the Michael Joseph edition went out of print in 1997 and it was unavailable until 2001 when it was published for the first time in the US by Vintage and reissued in a paperback in the UK by Penguin.

The Dorothy Dunnett Companion Volume 2

UK. hdbk, Michael Joseph, £18.99 0718145461

Elspeth and Dorothy spent most of late 2000 and the first half of 2001 working on a 2nd volume to cover the last three Niccolo volumes and fill in the parts of the Niccolo series that couldn't be revealed at the time of the first volume without giving away the plot. The UK version is in hardback to match the original, while the US edition is in paperback to match their recent version


Audio CD of Music

There is an audio CD available called
The Musical Worlds of Niccolo and Lymond
by the Edinburgh Renaissance Band

CDERB001 £11.50

Full details and Track listing

(this CD supercedes the earlier cassette - Music for Lymond, Niccolo and the Medici)

This is a privately produced CD and is not available in shops, but can be ordered through me at the email address below with payment made via UK cheque or PayPal.

The Band originally compiled a selection of pieces for the Dunnett Convention which was held in Edinburgh in 1990, and subsequently released a cassette of the music. This CD is an expanded version of that with some new material. They also performed superbly at the Stirling Castle banquet during the Dunnett Gathering in Edinburgh 2000.


Anyone interested in Alastair's writing, or in life on the west coast of Scotland during the 1930s will be interested in

The Canoe Boys: From the Clyde Past the Cuillins
First published in 1950 and now republished by Neil Wilson Publishing in paperback
UK. £7.99 1897784422
It's the story of the trip that Alastair and his lifelong friend James (Seumas) Adam made up the west coast of Scotland in the 1930s. They had established an outdoor magazine called The Claymore but it was financially unsuccessful and left them in debt. To clear it off they decided to canoe up the rugged west coast (despite having very little experience of canoeing!) and send back reports to the Daily Record newspaper. The many friends that they made on the trip and the scenes they observed give a wonderful glimpse of a way of life which has now largely vanished.

Another book of his that I get asked about from time to time is his autobiography - Among Friends - but this is not available. Its publication in 1984 unfortunately coincided with a major change of direction by the publisher and without the usual launch publicity and support it had little chance of success and soon disappeared. As a result there are very few second-hand copies around, although some people have had success in getting access to a copy through interlibrary loan.

Ninian Dunnett has been following in his parents footsteps as a writer - in both journalism and as a screenwriter, and he conducted a series of interviews with Scottish people throughout the country as we prepared for the new parliament and the new millennium. Many of these were first published in the (Glasgow) Herald newspaper and these were collected them together along with commentary, song, folklore and humour.

Book cover for Out on the Edge Out on the Edge: Voices from Scotland
Canongate, Nov 1998
pbk £8.99 0862417775


This site is designed, written, and maintained by Bill Marshall.
Readers may also be interested in my personal site at which contains more photographs of Scotland, and in the site for my web design business in Edinburgh or my search engine optimisation consultancy site.

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