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Saturday, November 21, 2009

The Price of Butcher's Meat

Hill, Reginald.  The Price of Butcher's Meat.

This is the installment I missed between Death Comes for the Fat Man and Midnight Fugue.

Although I always enjoy Hill's Dalziel & Pascoe series, this is one of my favorites so far.  After Superintendent Andy Dalziel has come through his coma and been released from the hospital, he bows to pressure and goes to a convalescent home to continue his recovery.

Fat Andy is such a larger-than-life character, and not only in physical girth.  His crude and politically incorrect observations are often intentionally startling and usually hilarious.  I adore him in literature, even knowing that I would probably be unable to tolerate him in real life.  He is a modern Falstaff, but one less likely to meet the same fate.

The novel is presented in a different format that includes the emails of an amusingly insightful and satiric young woman and the recordings of the big man himself. Franny Roote makes another appearance which certainly surprised me, but Franny has played a part in quite a few of the D & P novels.

Good characterization as usual, interesting plot, and wonderful use of language.  Even more literary allusions than usual.  I'm not sure how Hill manages to do this without sound pedantic, but he does.

As I mentioned, I enjoyed this book even more than usual.  Hill remains one of the best and most literate authors in the genre of crime fiction/police procedural/mystery.

Fiction.  Mystery.  2008.  519 pages.


  1. This one was released in Canada under the not nearly so arresting title of A Cure For All Diseases. I had my doubts about the structure of it--I admire Hill's experiments with form but I don't think they're always entirely successful ie. narration via e-mail and audio recordings here. I do find Fat Andy an irresistible character though, and particularly so in this book, so I thoroughly enjoyed it as well. I agree with you that Hill is one of the best and I'm looking forward to his new one!

  2. Kate - I have to admit that I was a little worried myself when I realized that it wasn't just one email, but a series. I managed to fall into the narrative style pretty quickly--the consistent spelling errors took a little longer! :o)

    I did like having Charlie's particular view point, which was amusing, ingenuous, insightful, and naive by turns.

  3. I've only read one Hill book, though I have several on hand. I keep thinking I will like these mysteries, but time is always the problem (I want to read everything at once).

  4. This had me puzzled but it was released in the UK as 'A Cure for All Diseases' as well. What a pity. I thought I'd found a new D and P that I hadn't read.

  5. Danielle - :) I may begin several books at once, but then I usually find one that I can't put down. This is almost always true for me with Reginald Hill!

    Ann - Hate it when they decide to change the original title, and I don't know if I've read it or not! Sorry to mislead you, but hope Hill is working on the next one to satisfy both of us!