Thursday, January 19, 2012

Requiescat in Pascoe

I've been busy (what an excuse -- I've been idle) but I do have to stop by an blog the death of Reginald Hill. When I heard on Sunday, I went and count how many of his books I have on my shelf (twenty two, came the answer). I had a wee phase of trying to collect all the Dalziel and Pascoe novels. I had stopped because they were taking up too much space (especially as I was buying the hardback of each new one as they came out -- Hill was one of the handful of authors whose books I do buy the first available imprint of).

Reading his books was a physical pleasure. Could feel the enjoyment flowing through me: the mixture of mirth, dread and anticipation. He plotted to perfection (especially Midnight Fugue). He managed to combine high literature and low genre effortlessly. He was able to move from police procedural, to locked room and English country manor mysteries without breaking his fictional world. He also managed to keep the series alive, fresh and changing without ever 'jumping the shark' and being ridiculous or making silly changes. Unlike Christie, he seemed to actually like his bread and butter characters.

Throughout, he managed to inject a liberal and progressive sensibility into what is often a bastion of reaction. "It's a war on the streets" and all that. Dalziel was a reactionary pig, and Hill knew it, but humanised such a man.

I'll also throw in a mention of the perfectly villainous but also utterly ambiguous Franny Roote who was "persecuted" by Pascoe. I guess we'll never find out the truth about him now.

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Blogger Darren said...

I didn't know. Why wasn't it more widely reported?

I loved his novels. RiP, Reg.

3:37 PM  
Blogger Bill said...

It did make the national news here, I first heard on the radio.

3:39 PM  
Blogger Darren said...

I guess I meant the front page of the Guardian, but since the Guardian's rejigged its website I'm always getting some Republican Presidential candidate wanker staring back at me on the front page.

And . . . the Guardian now refers to football as 'soccer' on its Americanised version of their website. Bastards.

3:42 PM  

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