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Death's Jest-Book Hardcover – 7 May 2002

3.9 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Hardcover, 7 May 2002
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 557 pages
  • Publisher: Collins Crime; 1st edition (7 May 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007123396
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007123391
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 15 x 5.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,034,945 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


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

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

From the Publisher

Latest in ever-popular and consistently acclaimed Dalziel & Pascoe series: ‘Reginald Hill stands head and shoulders above any other writer of
homebred crime fiction’ T Hiney, Observer

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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on 28 May 2002
Format: Hardcover
Any Reginald Hill fan will not be disappointed with this book. At least matching, if not surpassing his usual level of story-telling, this book continues the story of the "Wordman" which began in "Dialogues of the Dead".
The book begins with several seemingly separate threads and leaves the reader wondering "how the heck is he (Hill) going to resolve this?" Having read all of the Dalziel and Pascoe stories to date, I knew this would happen. However, I was still amazed at how all the threads are finally interwoven to form the detailed tapestry that Reginald Hill usually comes up with.
In essence, a cracking story maintaining the standards Reginald Hill has set with his Dalziel and Pascoe books to date. If you haven't read Dialogues of the Dead I would recommend that book be read first though.
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By A Customer on 17 April 2003
Format: Paperback
So you are a fan, read the Dialogues of the Dead and loved its subtle blend of crime and love? And now you are looking forward to what the author has in store for his newest additions to the Dalziel and Pascoe circle of friends, young DC "Hat" Bowler and his love-of-his-life Rye Pomona, both recovering from the traumatic finale of the Dialogues and its many dead indeed?
Then you'll love this Death's Jest-book because it features plenty of Rye and Hat. But as always it's fat Dalziel who's stealing (and running!) the show. Especially now that Pascoe is once again trying to deal with his eternal deamon, Franny Roote. Or is he simply playing a cruel Jest on poor Peter?
Before I start my personal appreciation a warning : although the whole series of D&P novels build on each other, this novel is a real sequel to the Dialogues. So if you haven't read the first, you'll be unable to appreciate this one.
I loved this book because it has the intrinsic Hill qualities : different story lines unfold themselves to a resolution that leaves no loose ends untied, the Dalziel character (a god's gift) and the superb storytelling talent of the author.
However, this book is not the best in the series. I've mixed feelings about the Franny/Pascoe storyline : the build up is sometimes annoying but the finale makes up for it. I expected more from a book that resolves a lot of stories spanning multiple novels. Also, for a non-native English reader, Hills wordgames and references to English literature sometimes stand in the way of the story.
Conclusion : as always solid work from Reginald Hill but only if you've read the brilliant Dialogues of the Dead.
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By RachelWalker TOP 500 REVIEWER on 19 April 2003
Format: Paperback
I knew I was going to be disappointed. How could I possibly not be? After all, this book follows on from Dialogues of the Dead (which, by the way, is a masterpiece and the best book I have ever read). However, while I was expecting disappointment, I wasn't really expecting it on quite such a large scale.
Hill here tries to juggle three plots at once, and for the most he does the actual juggling quite well, but ultimately each plot is disappointing and the endings unsatisfying.
Firstly, Pascoe's mind is occupied once again by Franny Roote, a killer he once sent to jail. However, now released, the cunning and intelligent Roote is trying to convince Pascoe that he's changed his ways and just wants to get on with his book on the poet T.L. Beddoes. But Pascoe is still convinced Roote has a more sinister agenda... Then, there is DC Wield, who attempts to rescue a lad he thinks is in danger, but instead finds himself with a street-wise rent-boy under his wing. Then, when he lad gives him a tip-off about a long-planned robbery, good old Wieldy finds himself in a bit of a pickle... And then, of course, there's Hat Bowler, living in bliss with girlfriend Rye Pomona, the librarian whom he became so entangled with during the brilliance that was "Dialogues of the Dead". But even with them, too, something shattering lurks on the horizon...
This book may be very very well written, and very funny at times (Hill is on form there, at least), but that just isn't enough. The characters are ok and well developed, at least that much can also be said.
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Format: Hardcover
Hill's recent novels have been variable in quality, always good, but some better than others. Arms and the Women was irritating, but On Beulah Heights was so well crafted with layers of plot that the television version was completely unable to match. In this novel he returns to that form, so that you are continually forced to review what you have read, to try and work out at what literal or metaphorical level an idea needs to be explored. I was never sure about who was having the jest and sometimes felt that any jest was at my expense! The emphasis in this novel is on Pascoe and I always like more of Dalziel and his lack of political correctness, but the characters of Wield and other underlings were also further developed in this book. I think it absolutely vital to have read the preceding book, although at times I began to feel that I hadn't read it properly, to have been so taken in, but I guess that was one of the jests!
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