Dialogues of the Dead (Dalziel & Pascoe Novel)

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9780002258463: Dialogues of the Dead (Dalziel & Pascoe Novel)

A new Dalziel and Pascoe novel from Britain’s finest male crime writer: ‘Reginald Hill stands head and shoulders above any other writer of homebred crime fiction’ – Tom Hiney, Observer

In the Beginning was the Word…

A man drowns. Another dies in a motorbike crash. Two accidents… yet in a pair of so-called Dialogues sent to the Mid-Yorkshire Gazette apparently as entries in a short story competition, someone seems to be claiming responsibility for the deaths.

In Mid-Yorkshire CID the word is heard but not believed. Even Hat Bowler, the young DC who first gets a hold of the story only pretends to take it seriously in order to get closer to the girl of his dreams, librarian Raina Pomona. But when the story is leaked to television and a third indisputable murder takes place, Dalziel and Pascoe find themselves playing a game no-one knows the rules of against an opponent known only as the Wordman.

Gradually the hunt focuses on three main suspects. Still Dialogue follows Dialogue and funeral follows funeral, till finally Hat Bowler, who is at odds with his girlfriend over the direction of the police investigation, begins to fear that she may be about to find out he's right in the worst possible way.

Reginald Hill's books are always full of word-games, but they have rarely been so important as they are here. There are enough clues to weave a tapestry, but in this game just who is playing against whom? Is it the Wordman versus the police? Or the killer against his victims? Or is the real game between you, dear reader, and Reginald Hill himself, at his most intriguing, most enticing, most elusive best?

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Review:

One of the things that the classic British crime novel does is set us puzzles; in Reginald Hill's new Dalziel and Pascoe novel Dialogues of the Dead they introduce us to a killer who does almost nothing else. A series of seemingly random killings are connected by the accounts of them--accounts awash in puns, literary allusions and deliberate obscurities--which keep turning up at the Mid-Yorkshire County Library. At first, keen young recruit Hat Bowler only takes the letters seriously as a way of chatting up the beautiful Rye Pomona--but it becomes progressively clearer to him and his superiors that whoever is writing them simply knows too much not to be the killer... Hill is at the height of his powers here--comic grotesques like Dalziel, with his habit of deliberately seeming more thuggish and obtuse than anyone could possibly quite be, compete for space with satiric observation of Jax, the bright young TV link who will do anything for her story, and the penny-pinching left-wing councillor who ends up with a chisel in his brain. Anyone who likes Hill's always excellent work will be impressed by this--and anyone who likes word-play and puzzles will be fascinated by it. -- Roz Kaveney

Review:

‘He is probably the best living male crime writer in the English-speaking world’
Andrew Taylor, Independent

‘The finest male English contemporary crime writer. Compassionate, intelligent and entertaining’
Val McDermid, Manchester Evening News

‘He just keeps getting better and better… Hill, a true master, never fails to shock and surprise’
Ian Rankin, Scotland on Sunday

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