The phrase 'a country-house mystery' evokes an image of 1930s fops in dinner jackets, starched family retainers, slinky femme fatales. It does not evoke an image of the belching Andy Dalziel, and yet there he is, on an enforced holiday, fetched up to a crumbling country manor, and sticking his bulbous nose into the late owner's unusual demise. As this is in fact the 1970s, the fops are sporting t-shirts and unfortunate facial hair, and the family retainer is knocking ash into the microwaved stew. But there is a femme, and while she may or may not be fatale, she's fabulous enough to waken even Dalziel's long dormant romantic dreams.
About the Author
Reginald Hill (1936-2012) was an English crime writer best known for his Dalziel and Pascoe series. He began the series in 1970 with the book A Clubbable Woman; he would go on to write two dozen books in the series, which would later be adapted by the BBC. In 1995 he was awarded the Crime Writers' Association Cartier Diamond Dagger for Lifetime Achievement. The last book he published before his death was 2010's The Woodcutter.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Fourth in the Dalziel and Pascoe series. The previous book focused on Peter Pascoe and his involvement as a witness rather than a policeman, after finding his friends murdered. This one focuses on Andy Dalziel finding himself in a similar situation. The difference here is that Dalziel finds himself amongst strangers, and it's not entirely clear for some time whether there is a crime at all, and if so what it is.Dalziel is supposed to be going on holiday after attending Pascoe's wedding, but finds himself stranded by a flood, and invites himself to stay with the funeral party who rescue him. The newly widowed Bonnie Fielding has more troubles on her mind than the loss of her husband -- their fledgling Banqueting Hall business needs to be up and running soon, or the business, and the family, will be bankrupt. Dalziel gets entangled in what at first seems like an entertaining diversion, but when more corpses appear, he has unpleasant choices to make.A good read in its own right, but I found it even better when I read it in sequence. This book develops Dalziel as a character, showing him as off-duty as he gets, and telling us something about him as a person as well as a policeman.
Finally seeing some of Dalziel's personal side unfortunately with very little Pascoe in the mix. I found the numerous characters a bit confusing but I was reading multiple books at the same time so I can't put it all on the book. Overall I'm enjoying the series and look forward to further developments.