Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Two books by Reginald Hill

29. A Clubbable Woman - first in the Dalziel & Pascoe series
by Reginald Hill
mystery, 1970
paperback, 273 pages
finished, 5/23/09

30. An Advancement of Learning - second in the Dalziel & Pascoe series
by Reginald Hill
mystery, 1971
paperback, 288 pages
finished, 5/30/09

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.


  1. It is such a relief when they make the order of a series obvious! I hate reading things out of order.
    These look neat!


  2. Hi Nan, have you ever seen the UK BBC tv series? It's very good, but I don't know if it's available in the US. Excellent characterisation.
    Love the new blog banner picture.

  3. I'm so glad to see that these are being republished! I was trying to read the beginning of the series and ended up ordering some pretty gruesome paperback copies. It is so interesting to see how Dalziel and Pascoe (and Ellie and Frannie) evolved over the years...as well as seeing Hill refine his style! Which gets better and better... Thanks for the news about Felony & Mayhem!

  4. I love Dalziel and Pascoe - books and TV progs. I'm glad you enjoy these books. There are many more to keep you going!

    btw - how are you getting on with not buying books this year? I've managed to cut down quite a bit but am still buying a few now and then.

  5. Have thoroughly enjoyed most of the Reginald Hill books I've read.

    I love Iris and your latest header picture is perfect in every way!

  6. they sounds interesting and I always like it when I can "easily" find the list in which order to read them.

  7. Lezlie, and Staci, I hope that the publishers of mysteries will follow this example. I know that Archer Mayor started his own publishing company and reprinted the first several books in his Joe Gunther series, each one numbered!

    Rattling On, we saw maybe two years and years ago on tv, but they are (sadly) not available on dvd. Thanks about the picture. I just love that color.

    Jen Clair, I'm so glad you saw this post, with its homage to you. :<) I so look forward to the next books. F&M is a great publisher.

    BooksPlease, I love starting a series, loving it, and knowing there are lots more! I'm still not buying, and won't. I am very determined. But it isn't easy - for example, I'd love to go out and buy more Reginald Hill!

    Scriptor Senex, I'm so glad to read of your liking for the books. They are such interesting characters, even in these early books. I love iris too, and this color is my favorite of all.


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