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There are No Ghosts in the Soviet Union Paperback – 1 Apr 2010

4.5 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Harper; (Reissue) edition (1 April 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007316984
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007316984
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 2.2 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 701,967 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

Recent acclaim for Reginald Hill:

‘Hill at his best is a masterly storyteller…addictive and brilliant.’ Spectator

‘Hill is unputdownable.’ Daily Express

‘Hill is always clever and funny… he demands intense concentration – because he’s worth it.’ Literary Review

‘Hill is a masterful writer, quirky and intelligent.’ The Times

'Exhilarating… if this is what results when Hill enjoys a holiday from the norm, he should take a break from his Yorkshire double act more often.' Sunday Times

'You're enthralled by the cunning of the plotting… great.' Observer

'Brilliant, witty and erudite'. Evening Standard

'The fertility of Hill's imagination, the range of his power, the sheer quality of his literary style never cease to delight.' Sunday Express

'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

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.


Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
There Are No Ghosts in the Soviet Union is a recently reissued edition of a short-story collection first published in the 80's. It contains 6 stories in all, one of which features the first trembling steps of Joe Sixsmith onto the printed page, and one of which sort of features Dalziel & Pascoe but definitely doesn't.

And it is the title story that really stands out. It's an excellent piece (at a hundred pages, it's more of a novella, too) set in Stalinist Moscow, in which Inspector Lev Chislenko must figure out why a group of people have just witnessed a murder that happened over 50 years ago. It's excellent: Hill has the space to flesh out Chislenko more than he does some of his other protagonists, and it's definitely he and this story that remains in the mind after the collection is finished. It has everything you could pack into a short story: atmosphere, character, suspense, a bit of romance, a bit of death, a bit of politics, a bit of the supernatural and, as it's Hill, a bit of sly humour. It's worth buying the book for alone.

The rest, though, is a slightly mixed bag. Then, short story collections are wont to be so that's ok. The Sixsmith story, which is the next, is a nice, light piece about the disappearance of a cat that gradually turns into something far more sinister. It's got a very neat twist at the end, and is wholly enjoyable, especially as a first introduction to Hill's returning PI. The next story, The Bull Ring, concerning an officer's harsh treatment of a subordinate in the war, didn't really grab me or stand out in any way.

It's the "Dalziel & Pascoe" story, "Auteur Theory", that is the real puzzler of the collection. I'll say it now: it's weird. But I'll say this too: it's great.
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Format: Paperback
What a terrific collection this is! I can't imagine how I missed it when it was first published in 1987, and I don't understand why it hasn't been kept in print since then. Perhaps it's because some of the tales are between 80 and 100 pages long; that may seem an inconvenient length for anyone expecting a traditional short story, but the quality will keep the reader going.

As usual, Mr Hill manages to surprise with his inventiveness. If you come across a 'ghost' in a murder mystery, you expect it to be debunked, don't you? Not here. And if the opening of 'Auteur Theory' strikes you as familiar, it's probably because you've read it before in one of the early Dalziel and Pascoe novels - but from a completely different perspective; here it becomes a tale within a tale, with a certain mysterious "bearded novelist" turning up to assert his authorial rights. And if you had forgotten why Joe Sixsmith's black cat is called Whitey, here's a reminder. You don't have to be familiar with the Hill oeuvre to enjoy these wonderful stories, but it helps.
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Format: Paperback
This anthology ranges from the early 1800s to the present in time and from Jane Austen to Stalinist Moscow in content. It's an unlikely mashup of stories, but most of them work well in their story lines, highly original characters and feel for context. There is a particularly clever sequel to Austen's "Emma" that ends the collection that sets that classic romance on its head. A paranormal mystery set in the USSR of the 1950s is a deftly done, out-of-genre turn for author Reg Hill, who only occasionally strayed into sci-fi.

The only story that I found out-of-step with the rest in tone and flow was a pastiche cobbled together from a separately published (and excellent) Pascoe and Dalziel novel and a completely unrelated story that didn't connect effectively with the former (for me, at least).

If you are a Reg Hill fan and still missing his work (as I am), you'll find "There are no..." a good fix and reminder of what a fine writer he was.
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