How nice to see Joe Sixsmith back again. If you're a Reginald Hill fan, but haven't yet read any of the Sixsmith books, you're in for a (pleasant) surprise. There's none of the dark undertone of the Dalziel and Pascoe books, but a clear impression that the prolific Mr Hill enjoys dashing off these lighter-weight romps in his spare moments. Good stuff.
If I have one grumble, it's about the physical object (this is the HarperCollins UK hardback edition). The printed cover is, well, OK, I suppose, but will soon get dented and marked. It's the illustrations inside which really let the book down. They contribute nothing to the telling of the tale; the illustrator doesn't even get a credit (which suggests some embarrassment on the part of the publisher); and for anyone who has already formed their own visual image of Joe, they are actually counterproductive. Having just finished Hill's excellent collection of short stories, There are no Ghosts in the Soviet Union, I found myself missing that book's less ambitious look and feel.