Death Comes for the Fat Man (Dalziel and Pascoe Mysteries)

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9780060821432: Death Comes for the Fat Man (Dalziel and Pascoe Mysteries)

Not for a second did Pascoe admit the possibility of death. Dalziel was indestructible. Dalziel is, and was, and forever shall be, world without end, amen . . .

Chief constables might come and chief constables might go, but Fat Andy went on forever.

Barreling his way into an investigation of possible terrorist activities, Superintendent Andy Dalziel is caught in the blast of a huge explosion at a video shop—and only "Fat Andy's" considerable bulk prevents his colleague, Chief Inspector Peter Pascoe, from suffering a similar fate. Now Dalziel lies on a hospital bed barely clinging to life, while Pascoe remains determined to find those responsible.

But the truth is not always cut-and-dried, and sometimes those who are sworn to terror's destruction are even more dangerous than the foe they wish to annihilate.

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

About the Author:

Reginald Hill is a native of Cumbria and a former resident of Yorkshire, the setting for his novels featuring Superintendent Dalziel and DCI Pascoe. Their appearances have won him numerous awards, including a CWA Gold Dagger and the Car-tier Diamond Dagger Lifetime Achievement Award. The Dalziel and Pascoe stories have also been adapted into a hugely popular BBC TV series.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

1

Mill Street


never much of a street

west–the old wool mill a prison block in dry blood brick its staring windows now blinded by boards its clatter and chatter a distant echo through white-haired heads

east–six narrow houses under one weary roof huddling against the high embankment that arrows southern trains into the city’s northern heart

few passengers ever notice Mill Street

never much of a street

in winter’s depth a cold crevasse
spring and autumn much the same

but occasionally
on a still summer day
with sun soaring high in a cloudless sky
Mill Street becomes
desert canyon overbrimming with heat

2

Two mutton pasties and an almond slice

At least it gives me an excuse for sweating, thought Peter Pascoe as he scuttled toward the shelter of the first of the two cars parked across the road from number 3.

“You hurt your back?” asked Detective Superintendent Andy Dalziel as his DCI slumped to the pavement beside him.

“Sorry?” panted Pascoe.

“You were moving funny.”

“I was taking precautions.”

“Oh aye? I’d stick to the tablets. What the hell are you doing here anyway? Bank Holiday’s been canceled, has it? Or are you just bunking off from weeding the garden?”

“In fact I was sunbathing in it. Then Paddy Ireland rang and said there was a siege situation and you were a bit short on specialist manpower so could I help?”

“Specialist? Didn’t know you were a marksman.”

Pascoe took a deep breath and wondered what kind of grinning God defied His own laws by allowing Dalziel’s fleshy folds, swaddled in a three-piece suit, to look so cool, while his own spare frame, clad in cotton slacks and a Leeds United T-shirt, was generating more heat than PM’s Question Time.
“I’ve been on a Negotiator’s Course, remember?” he said.

“Thought that were to help you talk to Ellie. What did yon fusspot really say?”

The Fat Man was no great fan of Inspector Ireland who he averred put the three f’s in officious. If you took your cue and pointed out that the word contained only two, he’d tell you what the third one stood for.

If you didn’t take your cue, he usually told you anyway.
Pascoe on the other hand was a master of diplomatic reticence.
“Not a lot,” he said.

What Ireland had actually said was, “Sorry to interrupt your day off, Pete, but I thought you should know. Report of an armed man on premises in Mill Street. Number three.”

Then a pause as if anticipating a response.

The only response Pascoe felt like giving was, Why the hell have I been dragged off my hammock for this?

He said, “Paddy, I don’t know if you’ve noticed but I’m off duty today. Bank Holiday, remember? And Andy drew the short straw. Not his idea you rang, is it?”

“Definitely not. It’s just that number three’s a video rental, Oroc Video, Asian and Arab stuff mainly . . . ”

A faint bell began to ring in Pascoe’s mind.

“Hang on. Isn’t it CAT flagged?”

“Hooray. There is someone in CID who actually reads directives,” said Ireland with heavy sarcasm.

CAT was the Combined Antiterrorism Unit in which Special Branch officers worked alongside MI5 operatives. They flagged people and places on a sliding scale, the lowest level being premises not meriting formal surveillance but around which any unusual activity should be noted and notified.
Number 3 Mill Street was at this bottom level.

Pascoe, not liking to feel reproved, said, “Are you trying to tell me there’s some kind of intifada brewing in Mill Street?”

“Well, no,” said Ireland. “It’s just that when I passed on the report to Andy ...”

“Oh good. You
have told him. So, apart from not feeling it necessary to bother me, what action has he taken?”

He tried to keep the irritation out of his voice, but not very hard.

Ireland said in a hurt tone, “He said he’d go along and take a look soon as he finished his meat pie. I reminded him that three Mill Street was flagged, in case he’d missed it. He yawned, not a pretty sight when he’s eating a meat pie. But when I told him I’d already followed procedure and called it in, he got abusive. So I left him to it.”

“Very wise,” said Pascoe, also yawning audibly. “So what’s the problem?”

“The problem is that he’s just passed my office, yelling that he’s on his way to Mill Street so maybe I’ll be satisfied now that I’ve ruined his day.”

“But you’re not?”

A deep intake of breath; then in a quietly controlled voice, “What I’m not satisfied is that the super is taking what could be a serious situation seriously. But of course I’m happy to leave it in the expert hands of CID. Sorry to have bothered you.”


The phone went down hard.

Pompous prat, thought Pascoe, setting off back to the garden to share his irritation with his wife. To his surprise she’d said thoughtfully, “Last time I saw Andy, he was going on about how bored he’s getting with the useless bastards running things. He sounded ripe for a bit of mischief. Maybe you ought to check this out, love, before he starts the next Gulf War single-handed. Half an hour wouldn’t harm.”

None of this did he care to reveal to Dalziel.

“Not a lot,” he repeated. “So perhaps you’d like to fill me in?”

“Why not? Then you can shog off home. Being a clever bugger, you’ll likely know number three’s CAT flagged? Or did Ireland have to tell you too?”

“No, but he did give me a shove,” admitted Pascoe.

“There you go,” said Dalziel triumphantly. “Since the London bombings, them silly sods have put out more flags than we did on Coronation Day. Faintest sniff of a Middle East connection and they’re cocking their legs to lay down a marker.”

“Yes, I did hear they wanted to flag the old Mecca dancehall at Mirely!”

A reminiscent smile lit up Dalziel’s face, like moonlight on a mountain.

“The Mirely Mecca,” he said dreamily. “Had some good times there in the old days. There were this lass from Donny. Tottie Truman. Her tango could get you done for indecent behavior–”

“Yes, yes,” interrupted Pascoe. “I’m sure she was a charming girl vertically or horizontally–”

“Nay, ho’d on!” interrupted the Fat Man in his turn. “You shouldn’t be so quick to put folk in boxes. It’s a bad habit of yours, that. Tottie weren’t just a bit of squashy flesh, tha knows. She had muscle too. By God, if they’d let women throw the hammer she’d have been a gold medalist! I once saw her chuck a wellie from halfway at a rugby club barbecue and it were still rising at it went over the posts. I thought of wedding her but she got religion. Just think of the front row we could have bred!”

It was time to stop this trip down memory lane.

Pascoe said, “Very interesting. But perhaps we should concentrate on the situation in hand. Which is . . . ?”

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