29. A Clubbable Woman - first in the Dalziel & Pascoe series
by Reginald Hill
paperback, 273 pages
30. An Advancement of Learning - second in the Dalziel & Pascoe series
by Reginald Hill
paperback, 288 pages
As they used to say on the Monty Python show, 'and now for something completely different!' After reading the wonderfully gentle and sweet Greenery Street, I leaped right into the first two in the Dalziel (pronouced De-al) and Pascoe series by Reginald Hill. His books have been, as they say, on my radar for literally years. It was reading Jen Clair's blog entries, here and here, that got me to finally buy the first two books.
In the first book we meet the two detectives. Andy Dalziel is older, fatter, and has learned his policework through doing it. Peter Pascoe is younger, trimmer, and college educated. You can imagine the encounters between the two, though right from the beginning the reader sees an inkling of mutual respect.
The mystery is that the wife of a member of the local rugby club is murdered in her home, in her tv chair. When her husband comes in the door, the chair's back is to him. He sees her hand on the floor, but assumes she has fallen asleep. He is a bit afraid of her, so doesn't disturb her. And, well, you guessed it. She wasn't asleep, but dead. There are a number of characters, any one of whom could have done it.
The second book takes place at a small college which has recently become co-ed after being a girls' school. At the time the book was written, I was a young girl in college; reading it now, I am closer to the age of Dalziel. I can see the various facets of the story from both vantage points, which made it very interesting. The premise of this one is that when a statue is being dug up, an old skeleton comes with it. Who is the dead person and how and why did that person die?
Hill is absolutely excellent in his details, both of places and people. The reader can see the locales, and also learns what makes the characters tick. I loved both of these mysteries, and look forward to more and more in this series. They are published by Felony & Mayhem, a press I've noted, here and here. I love how they include where a book comes in a long series. I've spent a fair bit of my reading life searching out this information.