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Prime Dalziel and Pascoe,
This review is from: The Wood Beyond (Dalziel & Pascoe Novel) (Paperback)
If you are already familiar with Reginald Hill's Dalziel and Pascoe series, recommending this one is not going to be a hard sell. If not, check this out and discover one of the contemporary masters of the crime novel.
This is an ambitious work; Hill clearly intends to transcend the police procedural genre, and includes a parallel story set in the ghastly killing fields of Passchendaele in the Great War that dovetails with the present-day police investigation that is the nominal subject of the book. It must be said that the interwoven story of Pascoe's ancestor (who shares his name) strains credulity; it's a literary construct that doesn't really come off.
But who cares? Hill as a writer is otherwise at the top of his game. It's full of witty dialogue (if only people in life -- myself included -- could set off such a string of verbal firecrackers, how much more entertaining our daily round would be!). Dalziel's Yorkshire dialect is a constant source of delight: I hope expressions like "nowt," "tha's," "lass," et al. aren't dying out. And as usual, the characters, especially the detectives and Pascoe's wife Ellie, are drawn in psychological depth.
The novel can be enjoyed as pure entertainment. But, notwithstanding the parallel story's unlikelihood, it offers a window into the ungodly horrors of life in the trenches in 1917 and the savagery of military "justice" in the British army of the time.