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Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page 38.
- Review Date: 2008-09-08
- Reviewer: Staff
In Hill's solid 23rd Dalziel and Pascoe procedural set in Yorkshire, Det. Supt. Andy Dalziel doesn't see much of his longtime colleague, DCI Peter Pascoe, because Dalziel is recovering from the serious injuries he suffered in Death Comes for the Fat Man (2007) in the quiet resort of Sandytown. When the charred corpse of wealthy Lady Daphne Denham turns up in a revolving basket that had been used for a pig roast in Sandytown, the two policemen pursue largely independent investigations. Much of the background to Denham's demise comes from e-mails that in spots may puzzle those unfamiliar with e-mail jargon. More deaths follow before Hill offers a final twist that's unlikely to catch experienced genre readers by surprise. The crotchety Dalziel's chafing at the restrictions at the convalescent home where he's staying provides some amusing distraction from the somewhat leisurely crime solving. Newcomers might better start with earlier books in the series. (Nov.)
Mystery of the month
British suspense writer Reginald Hill returns with the eagerly awaited latest installment of the well-loved Pascoe/Dalziel series in The Price of Butcher's Meat, this month's Tip of the Ice Pick Award winner.
When last we saw Yorkshire cop "Fat Andy" Dalziel, he was presumed dead, the victim of a storefront terrorist explosion. Happily, he is recovering nicely, whiling away his days in Sandytown, an English seaside convalescent hospital. His memory is not at 100 percent yet, nor is his physical prowess, much to his dismay, but his irascible character shines brightly through. All is not well in Sandytown, however, as the two major partners in the enterprise are in serious disagreement as to the treatment of indigent patients: one says that pro bono work should be an integral part of any medical undertaking; the other, the titled widow of a local pig farmer, has no such charitable instincts. Things come to a head when the Scrooge-ess of the pair is found skewered on a rotisserie, slowly turning on a large barbecue grill meant for aÊsuckling pig roast. By the time she is discovered, she is somewhere in the medium to well-done range, without the benefit of periodic basting.
There is no shortage of suspects, as the victim was roundly loathed. It falls to Peter Pascoe to lead the investigation, no easy feat when his overbearing mentor is so close at hand. Those readers familiar with the Pascoe/Dalziel series will find a marked difference in style in this latest book: the story is largely told in the voice of a young woman, in chatty emails from her home in Yorkshire to her sister in Africa. She is a chronic misspeller, forever transposing i's and e's, but a charmingly garrulous narrator. Then, from time to time, we get Dalziel giving us his point of view on the whole mess. Finally, there are segments of classic Reginald Hill third-person narrative interspersed throughout. It is a daring artistic move, particularly this far into the series, but it works brilliantly. At 528 pages, The Price of Butcher's Meat will not be a quick read, even for an Evelyn Wood alum, but that will only enhance the experience for Hill's legions of fans.