Whispering Gallery

Welcome to Issue 157 of Whispering Gallery

This issue was sent out to Dorothy Dunnett Society members in December 2022.

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.

Contents of Whispering Gallery 157

  • The Chairman’s Column
  • Trustees’ Notice Board
  • Solver of Ciphers and Maker of Codes: the Cryptic and the Cryptological
  • A Carpentry Culture
  • ‘What am I missing?’, part 5
  • Reading Lymond: A Child’s Perspective
  • The Plan de Bâle, part 4
  • ‘Collapse’
  • Güzel and the Bektashi Tradition
  • Wrapping Up Dunnett
  • A Dunnett Lexicon
  • Members’ Page
  • Talking Point
  • A Close Read
  • That’s Relevant!

How to obtain Whispering Gallery

New Issues
To receive your copy of Whispering Gallery each quarter, please join the Dorothy Dunnett Society

Back Issues
You can buy back issues of Whispering Gallery and Marzipan & Kisses at the Dorothy Dunnett Society Shop.

What’s in each Issue
A detailed list of all issues and articles in Whispering Gallery and Marzipan & Kisses is contained in the Dorothy Dunnett Society Wiki. The Wiki also has a search function, so if you want to find all articles/issues mentioning Gelis, for example, just type “Gelis” in the search box, and click “Search”.

Submissions to Whispering Gallery

Most Whispering Gallery articles are submitted by members of the Society, or other Dunnett readers. If you wish to send in an article, there is guidance below.

Issue NoCopy deadlineDistribution
158 – Mar 2023End Jan 2023End Mar 2023
159 – Jun 2023End Apr 2023End Jun 2023
160 – Sep 2023End Jul 2023160 – Sep 2023
  • Please indicate that your contribution is for publication.
  • The editor has the final word on shortening any contribution, editing and deciding on the contents of Whispering Gallery.
  • Longer articles may be split and used in more than one issue.
  • The editor will decide which contributions will go in which issue.
  • Full addresses will not be printed.
  • Photos
    • Please send in photographs (you either have to own the copyright, or have permission to reproduce them), but the final decision on using them lies with the editor.
    • If you are taking photographs for publication, please ensure it is set to take high resolution images. This equates to a pixel setting of at least 2400 x 3000 pixels (or 7.2 megapixels) and a quality setting of ‘superfine’. (Different terms are used for quality settings: “Normal-Fine-Superfine”, or “Basic-Normal-Fine”, or “Good-Better-Best”. Select whichever is the possible quality to give a smooth rather than stepped image.)
    • If you are emailing a photo in, and your email system offers to make the photo smaller, say no.
  • If your article includes quotations from the books, please supply the book title, part and chapter (for example: CM, Pt 3, Ch 13).
  • If possible, please send your contribution by e-mail to . Otherwise, send your articles and letters to the editor at the snail mail address published in the most recent issue of Whispering Gallery.
  • Contributions are welcome whether or not you are able to send them by e-mail!


History of Whispering Gallery

Whispering Gallery is the successor to a letterzine named Marzipan and Kisses, founded in the USA in 1984 by Jean Clissold and Karen Brandl.  Starting with issue 33, Dorothy Dunnett arranged for an international variant named Whispering Gallery to be created and published by the Dorothy Dunnett Foundation (DDF) for readers outside North America.

The DDF was wound up by Dorothy Dunnett in 2001 and its assets and rights assigned to the Dorothy Dunnett Society (then known as the Dorothy Dunnett Readers’ Association) which now publishes Whispering Gallery.  In 2001, Marzipan and Kisses ceased publication and Whispering Gallery became available for readers in North America as well as the rest of the world.

After Val Bierman’s time, the editor’s role has been undertaken by unpaid volunteers, the latest of whom is Suzanne McNeill whose first issue was Issue 108 in September 2010.


Magazine Editors
Marzipan and Kisses
1984–2001Jean Clissold with Karen Brandl
Whispering Gallery
1984–1986 (Issues 33–40)Edinburgh Book Festival Staff
1986–2004Valerie Bierman
2004–2007Denise Gannon
2007–Jun 2010Sandra Hall
Sep 2010–Suzanne McNeill

Publication Rights

Note on Publication Rights:  The Dorothy Dunnett Society is the publisher of Whispering Gallery and holds the copyright and publication rights for all Whispering Gallery issues, whether published by the Dorothy Dunnett Society (formerly known as the Dorothy Dunnett Readers’ Association) or by its predecessor organisation, the Dorothy Dunnett Foundation.  It has also been given permission by Jean Clissold and Karen Brandl (Bound in Leather Press) to copy and distribute back issues of Marzipan and Kisses.