A Summer in the Twenties

Peter Dickinson  - published July 2014

paper · $16 · 9781618730848 | ebook · 9781618730855

A young man has to choose who to love, who to leave in the 1926 General Strike in Britain.

“Small Beer Press, a small publishing company in Massachusetts, is reprinting … Peter Dickinson’s books, which is a wonderful, wonderful gift to mystery readers who are yearning for that kind of old-fashioned British mystery where it doesn’t move quickly, you get engrossed in the time period.”—Nancy Pearl, NPR

Read an excerpt.

In 1926 the British government was worried about revolution. Two million people are about to go on strike and class warfare is about to erupt. Tom Hankey is caught between his love for Judy, a bright young thing, and Kate, a fireball agitator. Brought home from Oxford by his father, Tom volunteers to drive a train in the General Strike. When the train is ambushed, Tom is thrust into the darkest and most threatening regions of English politics. Gritty yet sparkling and full of unexpected turnarounds, A Summer in the Twenties resonates and captivates.

“In A Summer in the Twenties, Mr. Dickinson, who is best known in the United States for his mystery thrillers and in England for his award-winning children’s books, tells a story of confrontation between the rich rich and the poor worker, set against the background of 1926, the year of the General Strike. The very rich are facing the rise of a force they can barely understand. Politics, here, is everything. . . . A Summer in the Twenties shows the body politic balanced at a precarious moment of tension.”
New York Times Book Review

“Dickinson shows us the daily lives of both the upper crust, with their carpeted manor houses and petty intrigues, as well as the working poor, who live in noisy, crowded conditions. Intergenerational strife abounds, as children of all classes disappoint their elders by not becoming what they were brought up to be; the exchanges are witty yet full of meaning, illuminating the shift of power away from the old class system toward something new and unproven. Dickinson conveys a lot of excellent historical material in a thoroughly engaging narrative with enough suspense to keep readers entertained on multiple levels.”
Historical Novel Review

“Imagine if Evelyn Waugh and P.G. Wodehouse had been called in to doctor a “Downton Abbey” script . . . . There’s sharp dialogue, wonderfully grotesque characters, a love story or three. (Judy or Kate? What shall our hero do?) The wit is droll and British.”—Wilmington StarNews

“A lovely smooth read.”—The Washington Post

“A witty, affectionately nostalgic masterpiece.”—The Columbus Dispatch

“As absorbingly readable, as well-written as anything Peter Dickinson has written.”—The Times Literary Supplement

“Dickinson (author of engagingly offbeat thrillers and children’s books) does splendidly here with atmosphere, with the eccentric supporting characters, with the occasionally bizarre comic touches.”
Kirkus Reviews

From the jacket:

Peter Dickinson . . .

“has an unusual kind of mind.” — New York Times Book Review
“is the best thing that has happened to serious, sophisticated, witty 
crime fiction since Michael Innes.” — Sunday Times
“defies categorisation and summary.” — Morning Star
“is a delight to read.” — Times Literary Supplement
“goes in a bit for the high fantastical.” — Evening Standard
“is the best crime writer we have, always absorbingly original.” — Marghanita Laski
“is now the best writer of crime-stories working in this country.” — Birmingham Post

“What makes reading Dickinson a pleasure is that the characters are well drawn and above all human. They make mistakes, have prejudices on both sides of the question, and manage to change, grow, and rise to the occasion as needed. . . . He is also the brightest of writers, capable of real humor and rare intelligence. . . . As a portrait of a unique time and a picture of good people trying to resolve the differences that divide them, coming together for a common good, and facing the very real class divisions that separate them A Summer in the Twenties is a solid smart read.”—Mystery File

Praise for Peter Dickinson’s mysteries:

“The works of British Mystery Writer Peter Dickinson are like caviar-an acquired taste that can easily lead to addiction. Dickinson . . . does not make much of the process of detection, nor does he specialize in suspense. Instead, he neatly packs his books with such old-fashioned virtues as mood, character, and research.”—Time

“Dickinson (author of engagingly offbeat thrillers and children’s books) does splendidly here with atmosphere, with the eccentric supporting characters, with the occasionally bizarre comic touches.”—Kirkus Reviews

Peter Dickinson has twice received the Crime Writers’ Association’s Gold Dagger. He is the author of more than fifty books, including many books for children and young adults such as Earth and Air: Tales of Elemental Creatures, The Dancing Bear, and Emma Tupper’s Diary. His crime novels include Death of a Unicorn, The Poison Oracle, and many more. He lives in England and is married to the novelist Robin McKinley. Find out more at peterdickinson.com.