The Dalziel and Pascoe Series: A Personal View

By Roberta Rood of Books to the Ceiling from Maryland, USA.

“Ever the master of form and sorcerer of style” – that’s what Marilyn Stasio of the New York Times called Reginald Hill in her 1998 review of On Beulah Height. At that time, I had just begun reading the Dalziel and Pascoe series. I knew I liked Hill’s writing, but I didn’t know just how much until I read On Beulah Height. This is not just a brilliant mystery – it is a brilliant novel, period.

A while back, when I was feeling the need of a Reginald Hill fix, I picked up an earlier (1973) novel that I had never read, Ruling Passion. Here we encounter Peter Pascoe as a Detective Sergeant, prior to his achievement of the rank of Detective Chief Inspector. (There was never much doubt that Pascoe was a comer.) He and Ellie Soper are lovers – but will they marry?

Ellie Soper Pascoe (as she becomes in fairly short order) is one of my favorite continuing characters in this series.  Quite the spitfire, she’s an unapologetic feminist as well as an aspiring novelist. She’s not initially a fan of Peter’s boss, the larger-than-life – in every way! – Andy Dalziel. For his part, Andy describes Ellie as being “authentic liberal radical left-wing pink Dalziel-hating.”  Though it makes Peter anxious, these two love to spar. (Ellie gets her own memorable starring vehicle in Arms and the Women, subtitled ‘An Elliad’.) Continue reading