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Friday, September 19, 2008

A Clubbable Woman

Hill, Reginald. A Clubbable Woman. This is the first in the Dalziel & Pascoe series and the characters are pretty rudimentary. Dalziel is simply crude in this first novel in the series (published in 1970), and Pascoe is almost cardboard. Not a bad mystery, I suppose, but mostly interesting to see the first novel in which Fat Andy Dalziel (pronounced [diːˈɛl]) and Peter Pascoe appear. Hill had a better grasp on them within a year when he published An Advancement of Learning (# 2 in the series; reviewed a few weeks ago, here and here).

I was unable to find copies of #'s 3-7 -Ruling Passion, An April Shroud, A Pinch of Snuff, A Killing Kindness, and Deadheads (1973-1983) - when I ordered from Alibris, but was able to get Exit Lines (1984), and will look for the #'s 3-7 in the series, maybe at

I've read 9 of the last 10 of Hill's Dalziel & Pascoe novels and find it great fun to see the evolution from the early to the late novels. A nearly 40 year span!

Fiction. Mystery/crime. 1970. 255 pages.


  1. After hearing such good things about D&P, I tried this book a few years back, and couldn't get into it. I felt the same way as you, plus I wasn't fond of the title. :<) But I do want to read it, and begin my journey through all the books. I wonder if your library could ILL the books for you. I got ACW through that program.

  2. I'm always amazed that some authors are able to keep up with the same characters for so long. This sounds like a good series, even if it gets off to a shaky start.

  3. It's a long time since I read 'A Clubbable Woman' but I do remember the problems that you mention. What is the more remarkable, I think, is the way in which Hill's work has developed. I get the feeling (probably entirely wrong) that early on he was writing what he thought would sell. Now he writes what he wants to (much more intellectual) because he knows it will sell anyway.

  4. I love mysteries/characters that are really developed as the series progress. Those are the ones I want to continue with. I have this one waiting for me so hopefully I'll get to it soon.

  5. Nan - I don't know that I would have ever read another one based on the first, but it is a series that improves dramatically. And quickly. I hadn't thought about ILL for these and should check into it. Thanks!

    LF - Especially as the books get longer and more involved, it must be quite something to keep up with!

    Ann - I think you are right--Hill seems more and more comfortable with his developing style and characters. Once he developed an audience that appreciated his work, he must have realized that people enjoyed complexity, wit, and intelligence.

    iliana - Don't judge the series by this first one! Or even the second, which was much better.