Many early readers of Stories About Storytellers have remarked that they finish reading it only to rush to pick up one of the other books Doug has so lovingly described. So this recurring feature will be dedicated to highlighting Gibson-edited books you might have missed. First up . . .
Dickens of the Mounted: The Astounding Long-lost Letters of Inspector F. Dickens, NWMP, 1874-1886, Edited by Eric Nicol (1989)
It is true that Francis Dickens, son of Charles, was a long-serving Mountie in Western Canada. It is also true that he was a disaster in the role. The Canadian Encyclopedia states: “Dickens can be blamed for worsening relations between the Blackfoot and the NWMP and for the growing antipathy of the officer cadre towards Englishmen.” What is not true is that Eric Nicol “edited” these letters home written by Frank. Chuckling at his desk in Vancouver, Eric made them up, from the very first sentence “It was not the best of times, it was not the worst of times, it was Ottawa.” But he carried the joke off so brilliantly that the well-researched book appeared on both Fiction and Non-fiction best-seller lists in Canada, while I rubbed my hands with glee. It still makes for delightful reading.
For more on Dickens of the Mounted, see pages 76-78 of Stories About Storytellers.