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Exit Lines Paperback – 25 Jun 2009

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Product details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Harper (25 Jun 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007313098
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007313099
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 2.5 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 161,864 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


'Few writers in the genre today have Hill's gifts: formidable intelligence, quick humour, compassion and a prose style that blends elegance and grace' Donna Leon, Sunday Times

'The finest male English contemporary crime writer' Val McDermid

'Reginald Hill's novels are really dances to the music of time, his heroes and villains interconnecting, their stories intertwining'
Ian Rankin

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

'These novels last, like a grand malt whisky – rounded, rich, intoxicating… Here is an author at his formidable best'
Frances Fyfield, Mail on Sunday

'So far out in front that he need not bother looking over his shoulder' Sunday Telegraph

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

'Reginald Hill stands head and shoulders above any other writer of homebred crime fiction' Tom Hiney, Observer

From the Back Cover

Three old men die on a stormy November night: one by deliberate violence, one in a road accident and one by an unknown cause.

Inspector Pascoe is called in to investigate the first death, but when the dying words of the accident victim suggest that a drunken Superintendent Dalziel had been behind the wheel, the integrity of the entire Mid-Yorkshire constabulary is called into question.

Helped by the bright but wayward Detective-Constable Seymour, hindered by ‘Maggie’s Moron’, the half-witted Constable Hector, Peter Pascoe enters the twilight and vulnerable world of the senior citizen – to discover that the end of the tunnel holds few comforts.


‘One of the modern masters of the police procedural’
SUSANNA YAGER, 'Sunday Telegraph'

‘Here is a author at his formidable best’
FRANCES HEGARTY, 'Mail on Sunday'

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

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

30 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Mrs. K. A. Wheatley TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 20 Nov 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is a tour de force. I love the way that Hill undermines one of his principal characters, Andy Dalziel, with the accusation of corruption. That charge in itself leads to more exciting plot twists than all the murders combined. Each strand of this complex book is equally strong and compelling and you are desperate to find out what happens in the end. A tremendous read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By W.E.HOLLOWAY on 7 Feb 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Each chapter in this novel is headed with the famous last lines of a famous character in history or literature, including "Et tu, Brute?" from (Shakespeare's) Julius Caesar - which some critics (of Shakespeare) regard as unlikely since Caesar probably exited in Greek, and "Either this wallpaper goes or I do" from Oscar Wilde - also perhaps apocryphal.

But hey - it's fun, and you need something to lighten a story which revolves around the deaths of three pretty ordinary old men. And this Reginald Hill does, without trivialising the sadness of the victims and their relatives. The characters of two minor stalwarts of Mid-Yorkshire C.I.D. are also developed (the awkward Constable Hector and the up-and-coming D.C. Seymour - who tries to balance success in love with the contingencies of the service).

What gives this novel an extra tension is the suggestion that the Fat Man himself might have been involved in one of the deaths, and Pascoe's loyalty (and ours!) is stretched to the limit. Hang in, there!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 9 reviews
24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
Review 6 Dec 2001
By hacklehorn - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
EXIT LINES (Reginald Hill, 1984) is a particularly good book, even by Reginald Hill's particularly high standards. It tackles the themes of death and ageing in both a humorous and a tragic way, showing the keen intelligence and humanity of the author.
The book opens with the deaths of three old men on a November night: as Detective Inspector Pascoe remarks, decidedly "not a good night for the old". One was murdered in his bathtub, his daughter arriving just in time to hear him gasp "Charley" and die; one died of exposure on playing fields, the discoverer of the body hearing him cry "Polly"; and the third murmured "Paradise! Driver... fat bastard...pissed!"-understandably so, for Superintendent Dalziel was in the car which hit him. The dying messages serve as clues as enigmatic as death itself, reinforced by the choice of dying words as chapter headings (great fun for those quotation spotters and spouters out there!). Police work uncovers connections between the supposedly separate cases-and police corruption hovering in the air, with Dalziel going on a shooting spree (of pheasants, that is)-"grand".
Reginald Hill shows himself as a keen observer of humanity, fascinated by the human race-but not becoming bogged down in Ruth Rendell's social conscience or P.D. James' bleak pessimism, but instead remembering that the writer's first duty is to the reader, to entertain. Take, for example, Ellie Pascoe's father's senility as an example of how to handle family background problems without intrusion: it is secondary to the plot, but is there as a play on the book's theme of ageing, and also serves to provide a vital clue. Characterisation is superlative, the reader really feeling sympathy for the characters, or despising those who view the old as a burden. Hill achieves this through a remarkable mixture of humour and genuine emotion, contrasting-but never clashing-humour with grief in succeeding paragraphs. Old age is really brought home to the reader by the senile dementia of Mrs. Escott, a genuinely pathetic and well-drawn character.
The whole-detective story, novel elements-culminates in a particularly neat and moving ending in which all the loose ends tied up, with both good clues and affecting murderers. This book shows Reginald Hill at the height of his powers-without any doubt the best of the modern writers of detective stories who are still writing.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Dalziel's motives may be suspect? ! **** A lighter mystery. 17 Sep 2002
By "lynkfri13" - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~
Reginald Hill's Dalziel/Pascoe stories are unique, in that they vary from very light hearted (Pictures of Perfection) to grim and haunting, and even to the paranormal! This story is on the lighter side. The unusual twist is that Pascoe himself is forced to wonder whether, by driving under the influence, Dalziel has corrupted the investigation. The story ties together the threads of 3 different deaths on the same night. A newer character, Detective-Constable Seymour, assists Pascoe and Sgt Wield in the investigation. The completely clueless and luckless Constable Hector manages to hinder most of the help Seymour is providing. The story has some very funny moments despite the tragedy of the deaths of the three elderly victims. As always it is great when Mrs. Ellie Pascoe is a part of the story. And she is "present" in this one, although she's physically away, taking care of her own elderly father. The mystery is satisfying and the reader's natural suspicion of Dalziel's motives, and maybe even his integrity, actually enhances the plot. Well done.
~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~
(For a sampling of the haunting, deeper side of Reginald Hill's Dalziel/Pascoe stories try "On Beulah Height: or "The Wood Beyond".)
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Hey out there! This is a great series! 27 Nov 2006
By S. Schwartz - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The Dalziel and Pascoe series is a great series, and Reginald Hill is a smart and intelligent writer. This is the eighth or ninth book in this series, and it's probably one of the better ones in my opinion. The book starts with the death of three elderly gentlemen, and two looked like accidents, while one was definitely a murder. While Pascoe is trying to solve his murder, he begins to wonder whether or not one or both of the other deaths is related somehow. Hill's characters are wonderful, and he outdoes himself with this one with Pascoe's heart-rending search for the truth. And the end of the book is a total shock! What a wonderful story. It kept me guessing, and I was wondering about Andy all the way throug too.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Always fun to read a book by Hill 31 May 2010
By L. J. Roberts - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
First Sentence: On a cold and storm-racked November night, while Peter and Ellie Pascoe were still celebrating with wine and wassail the first birthday which their daughter Rose had greeted with huge indifference, three old men, who felt far from indifferent, died.

The local population has been decreased by the death of three elderly gentlemen in one night; one died of exposure on a playing field, one having been attacked in his bath, and one after being struck by a car possibly driven by Andy Dalziel.

It is always such fun to read a book by Hill.

There is a great central cast of characters. In DS Andy Dalziel, Hill has created a highly offensive character and made him very likable. He is type the person you'd most want to avoid, yet there is innocence to his uncouthness and a heart beneath the girth.

DI Peter Pascoe is the perfect counterpart with his university education and proper manner. He has come to be known as the murder specialist. Supported by their team, including the naïve Constable Hector, Hill combines good police procedure and a touch of humor.

When it comes to the victims, Hill is serious and presents the challenges and vulnerability of the aging with great respect and care.

There are essentially five threads to the story; the three deaths, trying to figure out what Dalziel is doing and Ellie Pascoe's concern for her own aging father. I appreciated the realism of having the police investigate more than one case at a time and was stunned by the way they came together in the end.

Hill is a wonderful writer and Dalziel and Pascoe a great combination I enjoy more with each book.

EXIT LINES (Pol Proc-Dalziel/Pascoe-England-Cont) - VG
Hill, Reginald - 8th in series
Signet, ©1984, US Paperback - ISBN: 0451142527
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Smart meditation on aging 17 Aug 2008
By Blue in Washington - Published on
Verified Purchase
"Exit Lines" is one of the great Reginald Hill's early mysteries featuring the Dalziel/Pascoe detective partnership and it is a very good one indeed. The book's theme is the end of life and the problems of declining physical and mental capacities and the attendant loss of confidence and dignity. It's a thoughtful and imaginative story that remains relevant and interesting to this date.

"Exit Lines" opens with the almost simultaneous deaths of three elderly pensioners in the Yorkshire district where Peter Pascoe and Andy Dalziel are key members of the regional police. One death is clearly a murder--a man is bludgeoned to death in his bathtub--but a motive doesn't appear to exist. A second death is at first considered a likely accident, but Inspector Pascoe has a gut feeling that the injuries in evidence are contradictory. The third death seems the most cut and dry. A tipsy senior on a bicycle is mowed down in the middle of a rainstorm and it appears to be from his own carelessness. But the driver of the vehicle responsible for the death may or may not have been none other than Andy Dalziel. A Dalziel that had been drinking heavily before the event.

As in most Hill mysteries, the development of the story's characters is as important as the story line. There are wonderful personalities drawn here. Hill also provides an insightful and understanding look at the plight of elderly people who are living with diminished resources and failing capacities throughout the story.

As with most Reginald Hill books, this is a highly intelligent read that never insults the reader and delivers an excellent story with admirable characters.
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