Posted: May 13, 2014 in Book Awards, Dalziel and Pascoe, England, Reginald Hill, review, tv crime fiction

51a6twGKBUL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_SX385_SY500_CR,0,0,385,500_SH20_OU02_When I want to read for pure enjoyment with no thought that I should be reading this or that to keep up with what is occurring in reg hillthe world of translated crime fiction, I turn to Reginald Hill’s Dalziel and Pascoe long running series.

I suspect I am addicted to these books and in making a brief appraisal of the series I might butcher some Tolstoy: “All dull books are alike; each Dalziel and Pascoe is interesting in its own way”. I thought of Tolstoy because a lot of the Dalziel and Pascoe books are of of epic length. Luckily the Harper paperback versions have a large font or else the almost 600 page length of many would be off-putting.

In the last few years I have read:

Deadheads 1983, Underworld 1988, Bones and Silence 1990, Recalled to Life 1992, Pictures of Perfection 1994, The Wood Beyond 1995, On Beulah Height 1998, The Death of Dalziel 2007, Midnight Fugue 2009 and have just begun A Cure for All Diseases 2008 [the opening chapters of which are extremely funny].

I regret not reading the books in order, but I may well go back and fill in the gaps.

The Death of Dalziel [Death Comes For The Fat Man in the USA] weighing in at 598 pages was published in 2007 the year of the terrorist bombings in London. When Police Constable Hector, not the brightest copper in Mid -Yorkshire Constabulary’s employment spots a man with a gun in a video rental shop in Mill Street that stocks Asian and Arab stuff, Dalziel and Pascoe get called in. The property has been flagged by CAT [Combined Anti-Terrorism] but Dalziel’s lack of confidence in Hector’s ability to tell the difference between a gun and a lamb kebab mean he and Pascoe get caught in the blast when the shop  blows up. Pascoe is protected behind the fat man’s vast bulk, but Andy Dalziel is severely injured and spends the majority of the book in a coma.

Pascoe is determined to track down the perpetrators of this outrage and other connected attacks carried out by vigilantes. The reader is given more information than the police concerning the reasons for attacks committed against those who preach, or are perceived to preach violent jihad. Some of the questions concerning treatment of our troops in Iraq, revenge, hatred, personal loss, and fear of the other are cleverly raised with great care in this tense story.

The Death of Dalziel was a very enjoyable and thought provoking read, with the serious subject matter pleasantly distracted by the wise words of St Andy. 

Bump into your best mate coming out of the Black Bull, that’s coincidence. Bump into him coming out of your wife’s bedroom, that’ s co-respondence.     

  1. Margot Kinberg says:

    Norman – I can well understand why you turn to this series for guaranteed enjoyment. It’s one of the really fine series out there. And even though the stories do get long, they don’t feel burdensome. I also like the expert way in which the characters’ home/personal lives are woven into the series. And the wit is very well done too. It’s one of those series with which you can’t really go wrong, in my opinion.

  2. I loved this series, I think they changed a lot over the many years, and I have definite favourites, but they were never less than entertaining. And Dalziel was one of the great characters of fiction.

  3. Norman Price says:

    What I like about the series is that Reginald Hill keeps them fresh with so many different takes on the theme of a detective novel.
    Also he never got stuck in the past, even my current read A Cure For All Disease his parody or pastiche of Jane Austen’s Sanditon moves with the times. This epistolary novel is partially in the form of emails and dictation into a recording machine. Reginald Hill had a wonderful sense of humour, we are lucky he was so prolific.

  4. TracyK says:

    Sorry to wait so long to comment. I am at Recalled to Life, and plan to read the remainder in order. Sorry to hear that they get longer and longer, but I am sure that would not be so bad with Reginald Hill.

    • Norman Price says:

      TracyK you have got some interesting books to come, I have read the three books that follow Recalled to Life and they are all very different but excellent reads.
      I have now finished reading A Cure for All Diseases 612 pages after The Death of Dalziel 598 pages, but still ready to read more!

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