My Reading in April

Posted: May 4, 2015 in Book Awards, Dalziel and Pascoe, England, Reginald Hill, review, tv crime fiction

HummfliesDoD Reginald HillThe weather in April was very good and that meant less reading, and more travelling around the glorious Devon countryside. Roaming around the scenic Jurassic coast at Budleigh Salterton and Seaton, and the stark  beauty of Dartmoor, as well as the idiosyncratic market towns, we constantly realise how lucky we are to live in the South West of England. I should get employment with the Devon Tourist Board.

I read the two strong contenders for the Petrona Award, The Hummingbird and The Human Flies,  and as light relief Dialogues Of The Dead by Reginald Hill.

Dialogues is one of Reginald Hill’s door stop novels at over 550 pages, but it is an easy read [the print size is large enough to be read by septuagenarians, a vital matter for this reader]. There is a laugh on every page, and  just when you think you have identified the murderer, he or she is bumped off. I did get it right in the end, but only after my first choice met an untimely end. Dialogues is classic Reginald Hill, erudite with a Dickensian cast of characters joining with the usual suspects of Dalziel, Pascoe, Ellie, Wieldy and playing a big part in this novel DC “Hat” Bowler. Shirley Novello is recovering from a gunshot wound which she received  in the previous novel Arms And The Women, so Hat becomes a vital member of the investigative team, who are always one step behind a deranged serial killer. But of course Reginald Hill’s take on the serial killer novel is very different from most other writers.

‘ I’m just thinking, shouldn’t we concentrate a little harder on solving this case, sir, rather than finding out who the mole is?’

‘Nay, that’s down to you, Pete. This is one of them clever-cut cases. Old-fashioned bugger like me’s right out of his depth. I’ll fade into the background and let you call the shots on this one.’

Oh yes? thought Pascoe sceptically. Previous experience had taught him that having the Fat Man in the background tended to block out the light.

The news this week of the death of Ruth Rendell was very sad. Rendell’s first book From Doon With Death was published way back in 1964, and it featured one of my favourite detective teams of  Reg Wexford and Mike Burden. For many years I read every Wexford book that was published, and many of the psychological thrillers written under the name Barbara Vine, but unfortunately there isn’t enough time to read everything and I moved on to other authors, while still respecting the subtle plot twists and interesting characters that featured in her books.

In recent years British crime fiction has lost Reginald Hill, P.D. James and now Ruth Rendell, all three were giants of the genre they will be greatly missed.   

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Comments
  1. Thank you, Norman, for the reminder of how beautiful Devon is. It really is a lovely place to be and you are lucky. Glad you enjoyed Dialogues of the Dead as much as you did. Of course, Hill is one of those ‘can’t go wrong’ authors, in my opinion.

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