Whispering Gallery 157 has landed


The sight of medieval Russia’s wooden cities astonished contemporary travellers, including the men of St Mary’s. Our article ‘A Carpentry Culture’ concentrates on the dominance of wood as a building material for houses, churches and fortifications, giving readers of The Ringed Castle the background to the visual appearance of the places in the novel.

Our remarkable, long-running series on the cover art of Dunnett’s novels concludes in this issue with an overview of the foreign-language editions of The House of Niccolò. The study of codes, and the art of writing and solving them, is a theme that runs through The House of Niccolò and The Lymond Chronicles: we focus on the skills of Nicholas and Lymond in creating and deciphering hidden messages.

The possibility that Güzel may be a proponent of the Bektashi tradition is explored, a member takes a child’s perspective on reading The Lymond Chronicles, and we publish the winning entry from this year’s Short Story Competition. Read more

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DD Centenary Postcard Exhibition

Dorothy Dunnett was a portrait painter before she was an author, yet we rarely explore this part of her life, though the ‘painterly’ quality of her writing is often mentioned. We’d like to celebrate the visual by inviting members to submit a ‘postcard’ created in any medium to mount an exhibition of creative responses to any of her books. Read more here …

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International Dorothy Dunnett Day 2022

The twelfth annual IDDD is on Saturday 12 November, 2022. Dunnett groups around the world are marking their calendars and making plans! At 13.00 (1 pm) local time, they will raise a toast to the Lady who started it all, and to absent friends.

All are welcome, whether you’re in the Dorothy Dunnett Society or not. All you need to qualify is a love of DD’s books! Read more …

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Dorothy Dunnett Centenary Conference: Call For Papers

Understanding diversity in the 15th and 16th centuries

20-21 April 2023

Edinburgh

What did ‘diversity’ mean five or six hundred years ago? How did 15th and 16th century societies across the world deal with difference? What were the attitudes and beliefs that determined inclusion or non-inclusion? What were the factors that offered or withheld choices to groups and individuals? How did diversity coexist with established power bases or exist within hierarchies?

Scholars in a wide range of fields are engaged in the study of historical diversity. It is hoped that this conference will bring together specialists from a correspondingly wide range of disciplines, whose interests may traditionally be seen as separate, with the intention of exploring both the differences and the similarities between them and illuminating new lines of approach. We invite papers that address aspects of diversity in the 15th and 16th centuries in relation to, for example, participation, representation, privilege, discrimination and prejudice. We hope that speakers at the conference will consider two questions: ‘How did people of those centuries regard what we should now see as diversity issues?’, and ‘How can we understand such diversity issues by looking at them in the context of those times?’. We welcome (15-20 minute) papers that engage with topics that include, but are not limited to:

  • race
  • family
  • gender
  • property
  • sexuality
  • education
  • social class
  • trade
  • disability
  • travel
  • law
  • finance
  • religion
  • public and private spaces
  • philosophy
  • professions/occupations
  • politics/government
  • clothing
  • science (including medicine)
  • food and drink
  • literature, music, painting, sculpture


Please submit abstracts of no more than 250 words plus a brief biographical note to by 12 January 2023.

This two-day international conference is sponsored by the Dorothy Dunnett Society.

If cost is a barrier to participation or attendance, we can offer grants to cover reasonable travel and accommodation expenses for those who do not have institutional funding, in addition to the fee payable to speakers.

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Whispering Gallery 156 is out

Whispering Gallery 156 front coverA page of calligraphy by Monica Murray'Save your steel for those you trust'


In this issue, we explore the techniques Dorothy Dunnett employs that generate our ambivalence towards Austin Grey, and learn how reading Dunnett encouraged a reader to take an interest in learning and practising historical sword fighting.

We look at the religious context of Checkmate and how the novel reflects themes that gave rise to the Scottish Reformation. We are taken on a journey through The House of Niccolò and The Lymond Chronicles that presents us with a clearer, overall picture of Lymond’s French home Sevigny, and we have a piece on the archaeological research currently being carried out in Deerness, in Orkney, home to Thorkel Fóstri.

We explore Paris’s Île de la Cité, and we have the concluding part of a member’s very personal account of her passion for The Lymond Chronicles.

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