A little more on Reginald Hill and the Dalziel & Pascoe novels --
Hill's first novel in the series is A Clubbable Woman, which I've recently ordered. The second in the series is An Advancement of Learning, the book I reviewed in the previous post. In 2002, I found Dialogues of the Dead and went back to find any other novels in the series that the library had to offer. I had read a D & P novel earlier and recognized the characters, but Dialogues of the Dead was much longer and much more involved; it provided the deep hook.
I checked out all of the series that the library had ( Pictures of Perfection, Recalled to Life, The Wood Beyond, On Beulah Height, Arms and the Women) and read and enjoyed them all, but now I'd like to fill in the gaps among the older novels. Some are being re-published, but others I can get through Alibris.
Even as I made my way through the above novels, I awaited Hill's new novels and kept up with all of them - Death's Jest-Book, Good Morning Midnight, and Death Comes for the Fat Man. Have not yet read the most recent, A Cure for All Diseases, but look forward to it. The only ones I've read since beginning this blog are Death Comes for the Fat Man and An Advancement of Learning, so they are the only 2 I've reviewed.
Hill's inclusion of allusions, and there are plenty of them in the later works, range from historic to literary to contemporary topics and works. I especially love these allusions, many I recognize at a glance (which is always fun), but sometimes I only know that it is an echo of something I've read or heard and must do some research to pin it down (also fun).
The combination of humor and the horrific is also well done. The relationship between Andy Dalziel and Peter Pascoe is often testy, full of irony and tongue in cheek satire that makes me smile, and occasionally, laugh out loud. Pascoe is a strong character in his own right, but is an excellent foil for the often crude and always curmudgeonly Dalziel. The minor characters are also well-developed and interesting in their own right, never cardboard totems - and in some novels, Hill gives them the lead. Edgar Wield the gay sergeant whose appearance is always commented on (unattractive, to put it mildly) is by far the most lovable and interesting.
Hill is one of the best crime/mystery/detective fiction authors around. If you haven't given him a try, now might be the time.