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.
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.
Read an Excerpt
Death Comes for the Fat Man
never much of a street
westthe 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
eastsix 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
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 kindof 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!"Death Comes for the Fat Man. Copyright © by Reginald Hill. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I will certainly be looking for more of the Dalziel and Pascoe books. I found this one worthwhile even though Dalziel is out of commission in a coma for most of the book.It all starts on a Bank Holiday. Pascoe is off duty, lounging in the hammock in his garden, but Dalziel is on duty. So when Constable Hector reports that he saw someone holding a gun in an Arab video shop Dalziel is the detective who is on call. Dalziel goes off to see what is happening but the dispatcher isn't content to have one detective at the scene so he calls Pascoe. Pascoe recognizes the address as being one the Combined Antiterrorism Unit (CAT for short) has flagged so he leaves his hammock and joins Dalziel. Dalziel has just decided to bang on the front door with Pascoe reluctantly following him when the whole edifice goes up in a bang. Dalziel is badly hurt but Pascoe is stunned more than anything. Although Pascoe is supposed to be resting at home after he is released from hospital he starts an investigation into the explosion. CAT doesn't take kindly to his intervention but Pascoe turns up some interesting evidence and he is invited to join CAT for the investigation. Soon it becomes apparent that a group calling themselves Templars have decided to exact revenge for Islamic terrorism. Pascoe believes they may even have a member in CAT. Spurred by the thought of Dalziel's possible death he continues to investigate even though he is called on the carpet by the CAT head honchos.Does Dalziel aka The Fat Man survive? Who is the mole in CAT? How safe is Pascoe during this investigation? You'll have to read the book to find out.
i've been reading Reginald Hill since his first book came out, but this one is particularly good, and a bit of a tour de force to write. essentially Peter Pascoe has to, in the absence of Andy Dalziel, become him in order to solve the case. which has some interesting consequences for Pascoe. and at the same time Dalziel is present only in dream, and the dream sequences are far from the usual boilerplate, just like Dalziel himself. eventually all of it fits together into the case - both Dalziel's manifestations and reflections, and Pascoe's brinkmanship investigation. and we learn a surprising amount, after all these years, about what makes both men tick, and where their boundaries are, what drives them, and the nature of the way in which (so different) they are tied together. when they trade places, intuition still wars with the methodical, raw power collides with civilization. except that it's Pete, not Andy, pushing those boundaries, standing in for Dalziel while he's away, navigating blind across a political minefield of competing jurisdictions, trying to recreate Andy's point of view and suddenly as careless about keeping his own counsel. and along the way the surprisingly complex character of Police Constable Hector, who as it turns out can always see Dalziel, becomes germane.
another great story in this series
I know this is a popular author for mystery fans, but I just didn't care for the lead character. I didn't care if he lived or died or got his man. The writing style doesn't appeal to me. I won't be keeping this book in my library.
Reginald Hill is truly smooth in Death Comes for the Fat Man. All his characters are maturing beautifully and work together in wonderful harmony. This book is better than any reviewer has said - a shade better than his previous best, Pictures of Perfection. The sun was warm and the ground fertile, and the result is exquisite.