Thursday, September 3, 2009

An April Shroud by Reginald Hill

41. An April Shroud - fourth in the Dalziel & Pascoe series
by Reginald Hill
mystery, 1975
finished, 8/31/09

I'll admit it. My name is Nan, and I am powerless over the Dalziel & Pascoe series by Reginald Hill. You may have noticed that I had the Persephone Reading Week Challenge on my sidebar for a while. It began August 24, and I was thrilled to begin Cheerful Weather for the Wedding. I was quite sure I'd finish in a week, and have something to post for this special week of reading. But the only thing is that I had recently gotten the fourth D & P book in the mail. It didn't just call to me from the shelf, it shouted. I couldn't ignore it. So then I thought, okay, I'll read Cheerful Weather downstairs and An April Shroud upstairs. And that didn't work either because I began bringing April downstairs in the morning. Pretty soon, I put aside Cheerful Weather until I could finish this 1975 mystery.

For most of the story, I didn't really know what was going on, but then again, neither did Andy Dalziel. I just went along for the ride, sitting beside him, with 'nowt' to offer. It begins with Peter Pascoe's wedding. As he and Ellie go off on their honeymoon, Dalziel has decided to take some vacation time.

It was supposed to do him good, to rid him of the irritability and fatigue which had begun to dominate his working life in the last few months.

There are incredible rains and his car gets stuck. He is picked up by a punt which is part of a watery funeral procession. He ends up at the Fielding house, and quickly becomes absorbed in the daily life. These people are all a little 'out there.' No one seems very sad about the recent death - not the wife, not the children, not the father of the man. Why is that? And Mr. Dalziel finds a dead rat in the freezer. Who would do that?

Lots of details, lots of characters, interesting mystery, and the bonus of getting to know Andy Dalziel better. He is a character like no other I've ever met in mysteries. As I've said, I love these books, and I love these Felony & Mayhem editions. This is the last one in sequence that they offer, so I've ordered the next two from online used bookstores. Last night I began A Fortnight in September, but today the fifth in the Dalziel & Pascoe series, A Pinch of Snuff, arrived and I've already begun to read it. Uh-oh, I see history repeating itself.

There is a wonderful post on the publisher here.


  1. You make a very good case for these books Nan, I m tempted! I have never even watched the T.V series of them, what have I been missing?!

  2. There are some books that just demand to be read. But this also shows why I have difficulty with challenges - as soon as it becomes necessary that I read a particular book at a particular time another book shouts READ ME! READ ME!

    What else can one do but obey?

  3. Is it still on over there, Carole? I've noticed some editions of the books have the actors' pictures on the cover. Perfect casting.

    Margaret, you said it! If I can't stick with a Persephone challenge, I can't stick with anything. No more, she cried! I love the question at the end of your comment - perfect.

  4. Have you ever seen the BBC series, Nan? I don't think they've made any new ones for a couple of years but I haven't heard officially that it's finished. We never miss it but I've yet to read any of the books.

  5. Cath, we don't get them over here. There was a short time several years ago when one station showed a few, but that was it. I don't know why Public Television stations don't pick them up, or why Netflix doesn't have them on dvd. I'm really wild for this series. :<)


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