30 June 2009

Midnight Fugue; Reginald Hill

Midnight Fugue: A Dalziel and Pascoe Mystery Midnight Fugue: A Dalziel and Pascoe Mystery by Reginald Hill

My review

rating: 5 of 5 stars

One of the things I love about this series is how Hill keeps the relationships fresh, and how the mysteries do not seem to repeat in tone or nature. Don't get me wrong, there are certain moments that you know will come, certain catch phrases (or catch phrasing) that will be there (eg, the fatness of Dalziel, the education of Pascoe, the ugliness of Wield), but they don't bother me as much as constantly hearing of Nero Wolfe's "eighth of an acre of yellow silk pajamas" did.

And unlike in other series I've read, the characters really do grow. I can't remember another series in which the sidekick (in this case, Pascoe) has almost outgrown the master - it's a little like what they're trying to do with the Inspector Morse series, now that Colin Dexter (and Morse/John Thaw) is dead. But in that case is feels like trying to repeat the original, while here it feels like natural growth.

As with the Lynley/Havers mysteries, it's not always Dalziel front-and-center. Here, Pascoe's almost an interfering parent figure to Dalziel's teenager, with Ivor having a larger role than usual and Hat and Wield almost totally off stage. One of my friends didn't like the lack of time together between the Unholy Trinity (as they're known), and while I'd like to see more of them I think the book is still very strong and it's only my sentimental attachment that wants that relationship to shine.

They mystery itself is relatively predictable, resolving itself into two different "problems". The solutions weren't completely telegraphed (always a good thing), even though Hill gave the characters one day to figure it all out. What puzzled me is that the "24 hours in which to do it" seems more dust jacket nonsense, as there was nothing in the book that suggested that if this wasn't solved that quickly something worse would occur.

This is a far more filmable book than the previous Dalziel/Pascoe mysteries, but I really hope that it doesn't get made (and not just because I think the roles have been miscast). It's the arc of the relationship between Dalziel and Pascoe that will get lost (having skipped a few "episodes") and that's a pity.

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1 comment:

  1. Hmmm...this sounds good. I am thinking that I should start with the first book.
    Thanks for the review - probably would not have discovered this book otherwise.