Michael John Dibdin was born on March 21, 1947, in Wolverhamton, Staffordshire, England, the son of physicist and science lecturer Frederick John Dibdin and health worker Peggy Taylor Dibdin. From the age of seven he was raised in Lisburn, Northern Ireland—a small, isolated community where storytelling was a primary form of entertainment—and attended schools in Scotland. An eager reader, Dibdin devoured classical and modern novels, nonfiction, poetry, and plays, and read the Sherlock Holmes stories at age fourteen.
Dibdin attended the University of Sussex, earning a bachelor of arts in English literature in 1968, and was briefly a part-time lecturer at the College of Technology in Belfast, Northern Ireland. In 1969, he gained a master of arts in English literature from the University of Alberta, in Edmonton, Canada, and studied for his doctorate for a semester before dropping out of school. Dibdin worked for several years in Canada as a contract painter and decorator and at a variety of other part-time jobs. He married Benita Mitbrodt in 1971, and the couple had a daughter, Moselle.
With his family, Dibdin returned to England, settling in London. He wrote three novels that remained unpublished before penning a pastiche, The Last Sherlock Holmes Story, pitting the famous detective against Jack the Ripper, which received mixed and generally lukewarm reviews and moderate sales. Dibdin’s marriage dissolved soon after, and his wife...
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