Fiction, Taxing Pecksniffery, Top Drawer News

Top Drawer News — What the Dickens?

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Image source: Kyd (Joseph Clayton Clarke) ( [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Image source: Kyd (Joseph Clayton Clarke) ( [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Our space opera novelette, Taxing Pecksniffery, is back, with a new cover!

And you’re saying, “What the Dickens? Where’d you get that title?”

Here’s the story behind the story.

Back in 1843, Charles Dickens published a satirical novel called The Life and Adventures of Martin Chuzzlewit. One of the villains in the novel was named Seth Pecksniff. (That’s him in the picture over there to your left (<<<<<)). Mr. Pecksniff is a hypocrite—and because he is a *Dickens* villain and therefore a famous and exemplary villain, the word “pecksniffery” came to be associated with behavior that is hypocritical.

Our e-novelette, Taxing Pecksniffery, also features a hypocritical villain. He’s selfish and willing to bend the rules to enrich himself, and our heroes must bring the truth of his actions to light.

The “taxing” part of the title comes from the way the villain goes about his villainy. If you’re a fan of American history, you probably remember the sequence of events that led to the American revolution in 1775.

Those events included the Stamp Act, passed by the English parliament in 1765. The Stamp Act required Americans to pay tax directly to England on all printed materials and was widely resented.

In 1773, another widely resented tax was imposed under the Tea Act. The Tea Act taxed tea that was imported to America and gave the British East India Company what was, at the time, a tea monopoly.

One result of the Tea Act was the Boston Tea Party, where a group of Americans boarded English ships and dumped all the tea in the cargo holds into the Boston Harbor.

Now use your imagination to combine those three events with a Dickensian villain. Naturally the result will be a space opera set in 2176 titled Taxing Pecksniffery.

Or maybe that’s just the way our imagination works…




HL Carpenter is a mother/daughter duo who write family-friendly fiction from their studios in Carpenter Country, a magical place that, like their stories, is unreal but not untrue. When they’re not writing, the Carpenters enjoy exploring the Land of What-If and practicing the fine art of Curiosity. Visit Carpenter Country at



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