- Hardcover: 205 pages
- Publisher: Pantheon Books; 1st American ed edition (December 1984)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0394539478
- ISBN-13: 978-0394539478
- Package Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.8 x 0.9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 1 customer review
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,613,713 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Death of a Unicorn Hardcover – December, 1984
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Stated First American Edition. A near fine copy in a fine dust jacket. Soiling to the edges of the book's upper page block.
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Peter Dickinson returns to the English aristocracy and the traps of memory and self-deception in Death of a Unicorn. It is the 1980's and successful historical novelist Margaret Millet is reviewing her life and her choices, but still she shies away from reviewing the biggest choice which may have been made for her, because it is also the 1950's and Margaret is a rebellious debutante who wants to be more. To achieve this, she quits her job as a decorative decorator's assistant and begins writing a racy column for a mid-level newspaper. She also takes a lover who is older, ugly, of indeterminate colonial racial extraction and nouveau riche. It is hard to decide which item on that list would horrify her mother and class most. But no matter, her lover ends up dead and Margaret ends up both fulfilling her obligations and her self. She doesn't sell out. Or did she already, all of those years ago by ignoring what was in front of her face through willful naivete? That is the central question and action of the book and it is very good action indeed.
Margaret is both likable and flawed and while most of us haven't ben heiresses with a duty to fulfill and a life to live we understand her motivations. Well-written, well-plotted and poignant. Evokes both the true innocence of youth, when we are convinced we are anything but and the regret that hard-earned wisdom brings. All this wrapped in a story that contains a priceless emerald necklace, a manor house and corruption, skullduggery and murder.
Again, this book and further exploration of Peter Dickinson's work is recommended to anglophiles and fans of the English mystery.