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An Advancement of Learning [Paperback]

Reginald Hill
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
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Book Description

25 Jun 2009

All is not well at Holm Coultram College.

Lecturers having it away with students, witches’ sabbaths on the sand dunes, a body buried under a statue in the gardens…

But even with Dalziel’s cynical view of what college administrators spend his taxes on, murder doesn’t quite seem to fit in here. So when Dalziel and that over-educated sergeant of his, Peter Pascoe, are sent to investigate a disinterred corpse at Holm Coultram College, he hadn’t reckoned on a rash of killings.

While Pascoe rekindles an old flame on the staff, protesting students astutely identify Dalziel as a ‘fascist pig’. The Superintendent smiles with satisfaction. If that’s how they want to play it…

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Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Harper (25 Jun 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007313039
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007313037
  • Product Dimensions: 12.8 x 2.8 x 19.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 313,487 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Reginald Hill is a native of Cumbria and 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 Lifetime Achievement award. They have also been adapted into a hugely popular BBC TV series.

Product Description


'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

'One of Britain's most consistently excellent crime novelists' Marcel Berlins, The Times

'An increasingly lyrical and always humorous writer, he is first and foremost an instinctive and complete novelist who is blessed with a spontaneous storytelling gift' Frances Fyfield, Mail on Sunday

From the Back Cover

Lecturers having it away with students, midnight romps among the sand dunes, these fit in pretty well with Superintendent Andy Dalziel’s views of the benefits of Higher Education. But the discovery of a body buried beneath a statue in the grounds of Holm Coultram College surprises even his cynical mind.

Fortunately he has an expert to hand, that prize product of H.E., Sergeant Peter Pascoe. Together they settle in on campus and the learning process begins. The only trouble is that just as they think they have solved one problem, a second body turns up to set them another… and another…

Pascoe is both helped and hindered by finding an old flame on the staff, while the students class Dalziel as a fascist pig and thick with it, which is a very serious mistake…

‘Here is an author at his formidable best’

‘One of Britain’s most consistently excellent crime novelists’

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent 20 Nov 2000
By Mrs. K. A. Wheatley TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Franny Root is one of the best subsidiary characters that Hill has ever written. You just know he's up to no good as he exudes a palpable air of menace even while doing the most mundane of things. The plot is particularly well concieved and keeps you guessing right to the end. It is also the first time that Dalziel and Pascoe meet, and the first tentative steps of Pascoe and Ellie's relationship take place here too. The air of sexual tension between them is convincingly written. Not only that but the choice of setting the book within the confines of a university with all the infighting and insularity inherent in such an institution just builds on an already palpable air of tension. It is like waiting for the powder keg to explode. A hugely satisfying read.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent early entry in the series 4 April 2006
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
The second Dalziel and Pascoe novel sees the pair at a college of higher education after the discovery of a corpse under a statue's foundation block. Naturally, life gets even more complicated, and not just because they have to wade through both student and staff politics in their pursuit of the truth. Fresh corpses are provided, and it's up to Dalziel and Pascoe to decide which were murder and which were suicide, ideally without becoming corpses themselves.
Dalziel has no time for students, and the feeling's mutual. But Dalziel doesn't let his dislike lead him into underestimating his opponents, while the students make the mistake of thinking that Dalziel's a fascist pig and therefore stupid. Pascoe's feelings are more ambiguous, as he was a graduate recruit to the police force. His former university friends don't approve of his choice of his career, and his liberal sympathies don't always endear him to his colleagues, but this case reassures him that being a copper was the best way for _him_ to change the world for the better. The pair's different experiences and views combine to form a formidable team in this setting, something they'll need to deal with the criminal they're trying to pin down. Even near the end, it seems that it may be a case of knowing who and how without having quite enough evidence to prove it...
This early entry in the series is a relatively simple police procedural, rather than the complex literary game to be found in some of the later novels, but still has Hill's characteristic style and wittiness. It's one for all fans of the series, whether your taste runs to the shorter novels or the long, psychologically complex ones, as it sets up some of the series background. Apart from developing Pascoe's character, it introduces two of the recurring non-police characters.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars 3.5 Stars - The inbred community of academia 9 April 2009
By L. J. Roberts TOP 1000 REVIEWER
First Sentence: There had been a great deal of snow that December, followed by a hard frost.

Coultram College is expanding. To do so, the bronze statue of the former principal, Alison Girling, must be moved. Ms. Girling was killed five years ago on a winter trip in Austria. So why is her skeleton found beneath the memorial? Dalziel and Pascoe are office to college to find a killer.

Hill is such a delight to read. In this, the second book of the series, his characteristic humor begins to make itself known.

I love when Dalziel compares schools to inbred communities and the names of his characters--i.e., Girling, Halfdane, Fallowfield, Cockshut, and Disney, known as "Walt" of course--are delightful. The book is very much character driven. The contrast between Dalziel and Pascoe is wonderful. It's not a case of one being smarter or dumber. The two men are very different, yet each beings a viewpoint and methodology to solving the case.

The plot is rather weak; I identified one killer fairly early. I am also not a fan of the protagonist laying out the facts behind the case at the end of the story. And I hate the use of portents (authors who use them will always lose points from me).

Still, Hill writes a delightful, intelligent book and I shall read on through the series.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dalziel out of hiis comfort zone 18 Aug 2013
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Abridge version, Typical Dalzeil story, a straight forward detective story with the usual twists to keep you interested throughout the story.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Crime with a smile 12 Mar 2007
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Great crime novel. The author paints his characters so well - you really can hear their voices. At the same time, he produces a credible and interesting crime novel. But the best aspect for me is the humour. Here's a writer with a huge amount of affection for his characters and it shows.
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