by Reginald Hill
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This is a particularly intricately plotted police procedural. It starts with the deaths of three elderly men. One is clearly a case of murder. One dies in a road accident, but there are suspicions about whether a drunk Andy Dalziel, who claims to have been a passenger, was actually at the wheel. The third has died of exposure after falling while out on a cold night, but Peter Pascoe can't quite shake a feeling that something more than a tragic accident occurred.
The investigations of these three cases end up peculiarly intertwined. Suspects or witnesses in one case often have unexpected information about one of the other cases. Even a small subplot involving Ellie's worries about her aging father turns out to shed light on one mystery. There's also a lot of evidence that turns out not to mean what it initially seemed to mean. It all makes for a great puzzle. I can think of any number of mystery novels that I've stayed up late to finish reading and find out who committed the crime. I can think of far fewer where I've dutifully put the book away in the interests of getting a good night's sleep, and then lain awake trying to work out the solution myself. This was one of those books.
Hill's writing is brought to life excellently by narrator Colin Buchanan. I found myself laughing out loud at the antics of gormless young Constable Hector and the green but slightly more clueful Constable Seymour, especially in those scenes when one of them is paired up with the patient and long-suffering Sargeant Weild. Their antics do a lot to lighten up a book that might otherwise be pretty grim, given the subject matter. View all my reviews >>