19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
Our Dickens?, 6 Oct 2005
I loved The Stranger House. It has a large cast of interesting characters, a relentless plot, and a basis in the author's social outrage at his contemporaries' misconduct toward one another. Sounds like Dickens, doesn't it? And Mr. Hill has improved on (or at least modernized) Dickens by grounding an extremely elaborate plot, spanning many centures, squarely in human pyschology. In The Stranger House my credulity was not strained, as so often in Dickens, by coincidences and dei ex machina. And Mr. Hill's moral take on his characters reveals far more shades of gray than Dickens's more polarized characterizations.
I've been a fan of the Dalziel & Pascoes series for many years, and have long considered Mr. Hill the best crime writer in English today. (It denigrates his novels even to characterize them by genre.) But in The Stranger House, Mr. Hill has assumed the daunting mantle of Dickensian moral fiction, and achieved a triumph.