Book Review and Tribute: Bones and Silence

By Jake Kerridge

Link to PB at Amazon UK.

Unlike some literary prizes (I’m looking at you, Booker), the Crime Writers’ Association’s Gold Dagger has a noble record of rewarding the best writers for their best work. In theory then, Bones and Silence (1990), the only one of Hill’s novels to win the prize, ought to be his finest book. Julian Symons’s mighty history of crime fiction, Bloody Murder, also declared it to be Hill’s best.

I also have a sentimental reason for wanting to write about it here: it was the first Hill book I read. I was fourteen, I think, had gorged my way through pretty much all of Christie, Conan Doyle and the Father Brown stories, and was struggling to find books by contemporary crime writers that measured up.

Then I picked up a second-hand copy of Bones and Silence and my socks were blown off. Here was a writer who had much of the ingenuity of those old, dead guys I loved, but had more scope and ambition. He could be exciting, he could be moving, he could be funny, and often any combination of the three at the same time. Continue reading