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TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 24 April 2008
Like other reviewers, I found this hard going in places. The story is told both in Andy Dalziel's voice (dictating his thoughts into a tape recorder: he isn't a master of the technology) and in that of Charlotte Heywood, a young student emailing her sister (of course, she is mistress of that one: I suppose to be right up the moment she should be Facebooking or Tweeting, but that would be hard to integrate into the narrative.) There are also conventional third person sections.

The book opens in one of Charlotte ("Charley's") emails and her contributions - lacking punctuation - apart from lots of dashes - and slopily speled - can be annoying. The lowest point for me was when I thought they were all done with, and then they started up again.

Yet the technique grew on me. To my shame, I haven't read 'Sanditon", the (unfinished) Jane Austen novel which inspired 'Cure' (set in Sandytown). I assume that story would have been told at least partially in letters, so we have here a modern version of a traditional form. I see from Wikipedia (I know, I know...) that 'Sanditon' concerns the development of a seaside town and that the town is constructed as much through the characters' evocation as it is physically, so there are clear parallels. Before I'm consigned to Pseuds' Corner, I should add that the different points of view allowed by the email/ voice recording technique allows Hill to get to places - and present facts - in a natural way that might otherwise be hard, so it is a definite addition to the crime novelist's toolbox, not just a stylistic quirk.

So, the way the story is told is potentially 'difficult' but has its merits. What else? The book carries the relationship between Dalziel and Pascoe quite a way forward - Pascoe is enjoying his independence, and we see how Andy reacts to that, and also how the ripples affect Wield. For long term fans this will be the most interesting aspect, perhaps, more so than the story itself which, while well plotted and satisfying, is nothing out of the ordinary (at least not compared to "The Death of Dalziel"). The reappearance of Franny Root is also welcome, and I suspect he'll be back.

In short, I think you'll either love this book, or leave it half finished. Probably not one to start with if you haven't read any Dalziel and Pascoe before ("Death of Dalziel" would be much better there) but hugely enjoyable if you can bear with the emails.
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VINE VOICEon 9 December 2008
I'm staggered at the amount of moaning about this book! For goodness' sake [1-star reviewers please note correct apostrophe] can't you respect a quality author trying to stretch the boundaries? I'm not that well-read in Jane Austen but know enough that she [to whose followers this book is dedicated] was in many ways ahead of the game in her own time. To the initiated [or at least those who listen to Mr Hill's drift] there are all sorts of clues, many wryly amusing. If you're going to appreciate a writer like Hill, stay with him, go the distance. Frankly, it's you who will be found wanting. Enough. Having said all that, the book is not the writer's best but he's hamstrung in trying to get fatman back to base within a reasonable timescale. Can we now bid farewell to Franny Roote though, please - I'm fed up with him.
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on 26 June 2013
Nicely read by Colin Buchanan, a cure for all diseases is revealed as death. Logical if you think about it. Franny Root appears again, this time in a wheelchair after being shot in the back whilst rescuing Pascoe's daughter Rosie in a previous story.
Everything you'd expect from Reginald Hill, well described scenery and actions, and a nice little murder.
I have listened to this audio cd twice so far, and will listen to it again. One of my favourites.
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on 12 November 2016
Really thrilling, what threw me was the way it was laid out, chapters in dispensed with emails, but you need to read them as well, pleased that The Fat Man got to fight another day.
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on 13 February 2018
Follow up to "The Death of Dalziel" - thoroughly enjoy it!
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on 27 February 2018
A book which held your attention
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on 24 September 2010
I finished this book today and although I enjoyed most of it I found the ending a bit of a let down. I skipped over the early 'email' sequences and this did not seem to detract from the story at all. The story was building up very well until the final chapters and the final outcome was very disappointing I felt. Still it was nice to see Andy Dalziel back in harness after his near death experience in "Death of Dalziel".
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on 17 August 2017
Reginald Hill at his best. Funny - Tragic Hill does it all.

Wonderful read.
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on 6 August 2015
I love this series, but wish more had been put into kindle format. Come on publisher, do something about it.
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on 19 April 2017
OK
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