Dolly and the Nanny Bird (Johnson Johnson, #5)
Reprinted and retitled as Split Code

Dolly and the Nanny Bird (Johnson Johnson, #5) Details

TitleDolly and the Nanny Bird (Johnson Johnson, #5)
Author
ReleaseAug 12th, 1983
PublisherVintage
ISBN-139780394717234
Rating
GenreMystery, Crime, Fiction, Spy Thriller, Espionage, Contemporary, Thriller, Mystery Thriller

Dolly and the Nanny Bird (Johnson Johnson, #5) Review

  • Andrea
    January 1, 1970
    On the whole, this was probably the best of this series so far. The main character is herself involved in the espionage game, though as a decoder, and thus spends a lot of time being calm and competent. A heck of a lot about child care in the story, along with a great many women who have the care of children and yet care nothing for them.As usual there's a portion of the ending that steps out of adventure and could be suitably be called "mad cap". Almost all of these books have had a section tha On the whole, this was probably the best of this series so far. The main character is herself involved in the espionage game, though as a decoder, and thus spends a lot of time being calm and competent. A heck of a lot about child care in the story, along with a great many women who have the care of children and yet care nothing for them.As usual there's a portion of the ending that steps out of adventure and could be suitably be called "mad cap". Almost all of these books have had a section that is presumably meant to be comedic, but is where credulity is stretched to the limit.
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  • Diana Sandberg
    January 1, 1970
    Ugh. Hard to believe this is the same author who wrote very absorbing medieval historicals with such grace and intelligence. This is cheap James Bond and deadly tedious. There were 8 of these, of which this is the 7th. All are apparently now out of print and good riddance. Besides being ankle-deep in 70s Brit slang – I’d forgotten how fond of brand names they were – and the unexplained references to previously met characters and events, the story itself is stupid and overly convoluted. I resente Ugh. Hard to believe this is the same author who wrote very absorbing medieval historicals with such grace and intelligence. This is cheap James Bond and deadly tedious. There were 8 of these, of which this is the 7th. All are apparently now out of print and good riddance. Besides being ankle-deep in 70s Brit slang – I’d forgotten how fond of brand names they were – and the unexplained references to previously met characters and events, the story itself is stupid and overly convoluted. I resented having to wade through tons of nautical jargon in an attempt to follow the oooh-exciting yacht adventure. Other references were just obscure. Describing a ritzy enclave, she says, “the beachside properties are expensive and large: anyone from the Third Crusade would have felt instantly at home.” Eh? Ok, that was the Kings’ Crusade, meaning there were, um, 3 or 4 major kings and probably a few other leaders involved, and (duh) a vast preponderance of knights, fighters and hangers-on, just like any other war machine. What the heck is she trying to say? It doesn’t make any sense. Even more mysterious: a street scene in Yugoslavia – “…in front of each arch of the knee shops…”. Knee shops?? I looked this one up and got nowhere that didn’t point at places to buy knee braces. She also uses words like “joppling” and “whimming”, which she perhaps made up. I only found “jopple” on a website of made-up words with humorous definitions, and “whimming” in a nonsense poem by John Lennon and in a blog, as a humorous extension of the noun. I’ll add that the usage was quite clear in the blog, but not at all in the book. No idea what it was meant to convey.Probably the most interesting facet of the book is the fact that the series’ continuing character appears pretty much in the background and the narrative is from the pov of what is apparently a one-shot. It seems that each book has a different “bird” (there’s that slang again) and I gather that each is the narrator, although I’d have to actually look at another to find out and I really don’t care to bother.
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  • Nigel
    January 1, 1970
    I've been cataloging my books online for a few years now, but looking back it's odd that some of the writers for whom I have the greatest love barely rate a mention, due to my possibly arbitrary decision to just add books as I read them. I could explain why I do this except I can't remember and I'm sure it was a dreadfully boring reason and why the heck should anyone care? Various editions of the novels of Dorothy Dunnett take up about two whole bookshelves all by themselves, and yet this is the I've been cataloging my books online for a few years now, but looking back it's odd that some of the writers for whom I have the greatest love barely rate a mention, due to my possibly arbitrary decision to just add books as I read them. I could explain why I do this except I can't remember and I'm sure it was a dreadfully boring reason and why the heck should anyone care? Various editions of the novels of Dorothy Dunnett take up about two whole bookshelves all by themselves, and yet this is the first of her novels to turn up on my Goodreads! This is both uninteresting and insignificant! Yet I'm noting it anyway. Anything to avoid company. Joanna Emerson is one of Johnson Johnson's dolly birds, young women who, whatever their other qualities, tend to score high on intelligence and resourcefulness, be single and have a well-defined trade which they are rather good at, all in contrast to the casual sexism of the oh-so-seventies titles. This is Dunnett: ironies abound. Back to Joanna, highly trained nanny who, after a difficult adventure on a train in the middle of a freezing Canadian tundra, ends up employed by a rich New York couple to mind their new-born baby. Deeper agendas have conspired to bring this about, aided by the machinations of yachtman and portrait painter and freelance troubleshooter for British Intelligence, Johnson Johnson. Dodging kidnap attempts ostensibly aimed at the bawling heir, negotiating the marital difficulties of her employers and the social climbing of the family next door, Joanna provides an excellent service, provided she can survive.These are rather light, fast, fun books, though not without their darker, sharper, sadder moments. The hero - enigmatic, surpassingly clever, deeply manipulative but hiding nasty emotional and physical scars - is cast from the same mould as Lymond, Niccolo and Thorfinn, as are the supporting characters who provide us with our not entirely reliable view of them. The Dolly books, nevertheless, can be a bit of a mixed bag, and though not the best, this is certainly one of the better ones.
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  • Brittany
    January 1, 1970
    Joanna Emerson, the heroine of this book, is the closest of any of the Johnson heroines to Philippa. This is, of course, a very good and fun thing. She's a nanny, and her character takes a nice, slow time making itself apparent. She's also the only one of the Johnson heroines to already be working in the world of espionage (on the side of good) when Johnson encounters her. Joanna gets wrapped up in a kidnapping plot that's not really, and the resulting adventure is the grittiest so far. (Dunnett Joanna Emerson, the heroine of this book, is the closest of any of the Johnson heroines to Philippa. This is, of course, a very good and fun thing. She's a nanny, and her character takes a nice, slow time making itself apparent. She's also the only one of the Johnson heroines to already be working in the world of espionage (on the side of good) when Johnson encounters her. Joanna gets wrapped up in a kidnapping plot that's not really, and the resulting adventure is the grittiest so far. (Dunnett sure has a thing about fathers who are horrible to their children.) The action includes the most emphasis on actual sailing ability, some interesting bits about disease, and a truly creepy puzzle/torture/prison scene.It may have been the circumstances of my life at the time (I had just been called to jury duty for a grim homicide trial) but this is the first Johnson book I was happy to be done with.This book was originally published as Dolly and the Nanny Bird.
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  • Joy
    January 1, 1970
    Joanna is a highly trained nanny and nurse, but she has a father in the British Secret Service, and he finds it handy to involve her work with his. During what is supposed to be a cooling-off period in North America, Johnson Johnson pitchforks her into a job in New York with lots of money in the family. Kidnapping is only to be expected, but it's actually quite a bit more complicated than that.We make an interesting visit to Yugoslavia, during the time Tito was still controlling the feuding trib Joanna is a highly trained nanny and nurse, but she has a father in the British Secret Service, and he finds it handy to involve her work with his. During what is supposed to be a cooling-off period in North America, Johnson Johnson pitchforks her into a job in New York with lots of money in the family. Kidnapping is only to be expected, but it's actually quite a bit more complicated than that.We make an interesting visit to Yugoslavia, during the time Tito was still controlling the feuding tribes. I felt that Dunnett went rather overboard in the amount of description in this book, but the plotting is clever with surprising twists.
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  • Margaret
    January 1, 1970
    Oh, c'mon this is not self-loathing anti-feminism - the Johnson Johnson books are not deep but they are funny. Consider their competition of the time - Bond films with Sean Connery. Really, funny, no?
  • Brackman1066
    January 1, 1970
    Easily my favorite heroine of the series. Joanna Emerson is actually a good partner for Johnson, and this was a fun read.
  • Catherine
    January 1, 1970
    Fantastic! Loved it. So glad I'm not a nanny. But I LOVED the whole story.
  • Anne
    January 1, 1970
    Not the same as Niccolo! Very different, be warned. But still fun, even if it was difficult to understand the 1980s British references.
  • Helen
    January 1, 1970
    Later I realised the character in this was an interesting forshadow of Simon in Niccolo
  • Lilykitten
    January 1, 1970
    Loves this story - it's one I can read over and over again. The heroine plays as much a part in solving the mystery as does Johnson, and this was the first mystery book I read where the writer expected you to pay attention and remember what was said before, as she refers back to it without spelling it out all over again.I found comparing the details on how babies were looked after with those of today just as enjoyable as the mystery, and I cared much more about the minor characters and their liv Loves this story - it's one I can read over and over again. The heroine plays as much a part in solving the mystery as does Johnson, and this was the first mystery book I read where the writer expected you to pay attention and remember what was said before, as she refers back to it without spelling it out all over again.I found comparing the details on how babies were looked after with those of today just as enjoyable as the mystery, and I cared much more about the minor characters and their lives here than in any of the other books. The end (view spoiler)[ with the realisation that Joanna had once fallen in love with Johnson, but now 'had other girls' children' (hide spoiler)] was quite sad; the whole character of Joanna seemed to have more depth than many of Dunnett's other 'Dolly' heroines. The puzzles and plot twists were great to follow, the villains suitably eccentric and clever, and the sailing/scenery descriptions very effective.
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  • Peter
    January 1, 1970
    Plot had some silly bits but fun characters and an imagined peek at the jet set from a generation ago. Action moves from Canada to nyc to cape cod to Dubrovnik.
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