Book Review: The Death of Dalziel

By Yvonne Klein of Reviewing the Evidence


Link to title on Amazon USA.

When I reviewed this (under its North American title, Death Comes For The Fat Man), a perennial tiff had surfaced in the papers regarding the relative merits of literary vs. genre fiction. It was a discussion that was to come to a bit of a boil a year or so later, at Harrogate, when John Banville announced that he could manage only 200 words a day when writing as himself, but as Benjamin Black, he could crank out 2,000. Appearing on the same panel, Reginald Hill gained a round of applause when he said, “When I get up in the morning, I ask my wife whether I should write a Booker prize winning novel, or another bestselling crime book. And we always come down on the side of the crime book.” Hill may have always turned to crime, but he was far from abandoning the literary, especially in the later novels and picking up his references, which his novels wore lightly, was one the great pleasures his work provided.


On a warm Bank Holiday afternoon, Hector, a police constable not noted for his acute observation or articulate expression, thinks he hears something like a gunshot. He ambles into a dimly-lit shop where he is assured that all is well. But he does report the incident, more or less, and thus sets into train a series of events that will shortly see Andy Dalziel in hospital, uncertainly poised between life and death. Peter Pascoe, protected by Andy’s bulk from the full blast of the explosion, embarks on a single-minded and unorthodox investigation of the crime. Continue reading

Book Review: The Death of Dalziel – Reginald Hill

Reg Hill’s Self-deprecation

By Barry Forshaw

Whenever I met Reg Hill, I always found the most winning of his many winning features was his reluctance to take himself seriously – a characteristic he shared with Colin Dexter, but burnished to an even more self-deprecating level. He was always polite about anything I wrote about him in various newspapers over the years (whatever his private view!), but told me that the following (for The Death of Dalziel) was his favourite review of mine. My day was made. Now I can sadly quote the first line of the piece about Reg himself.

Is he really dead? Has the Fat Man really sung at last? That’s something you won’t learn from this review (and Reginald Hill’s publishers are keen that you pay to find out the answer). But there’s no denying that many will read this latest entry in Hill’s exemplary series with an extra frisson of interest (has it really been 37 years since we first met the educated, sensitive copper Peter Pascoe and the coarse but lovable Andy Dalziel in A Clubbable Woman?). And many of us will be wondering – has Hill tired of Dalziel? Continue reading