Tuesday, March 25

The Death of Dalziel - Reginald Hill

It’s a post July 7 world, and Yorkshire’s as affected by the new levels of security and surveillance as anywhere else in Britain. So when there’s a report – even if it is made by the less than cluey PC Hector – that an armed man’s been seen at a flagged address, Dalziel is sent around to keep an eye on things until the Combined Anti-Terrorism unit arrives. Knowing Dalziel’s… disregard for correct procedure if it gets in the way of him having lunch, Inspector Ireland also called Peter, who was having a day off. Sure enough the Fat Man’s not bothered waiting for CAT, and as he and Peter approach the house it explodes, wounding Pascoe and leaving Dalziel hanging in death’s doorway.
Much of the pleasure of well-written series is returning to well-loved characters, and the knowledge that you can relax - the writing’s going to be good and the plot involving.

This is the twenty-second Pascoe and Dalziel novel, and Hill has lost none of the verve with which he started the series. The books have become bigger over time, but with extra action rather than padding, and the plots have moved with the times, combining contemporary issues with traditional Yorkshire values – like Dalziel’s respect for Hector’s unique gifts. I wouldn’t start with The Death of Dalziel, but if you’re interested in strong, larger than life but realistic characters, intricate plotting and deft writing you can’t go past Hill, one of the few authors I still buy rather than borrow. – Alex

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