Hill writes of these tricky matters in a fluid and witty style that eventually lifts [Dalziel] from his torpor and restores him to roaring health.
The New York Times
The short time frame of British author Hill's strong 24th Dalziel and Pascoe procedural (after 2008's The Price of Butcher's Meat) maximizes suspense without sacrificing either characterization or humor. Andy Dalziel, an irascible dinosaur of a police officer who's only just returned to the Mid-Yorkshire force after recovering from a serious injury, is tracked down by Gina Wolfe, whose policeman husband, Alex, has been missing for seven years. Alex disappeared while under investigation by internal affairs, who suspected him of leaking information to a major criminal target. Gina was on the verge of having Alex declared legally dead, until she received a recent magazine photo clearly showing Alex or his double. Dalziel's decision to assist Gina unofficially in finding out what became of Alex leads to his placing a colleague in jeopardy. Numerous subplots don't slow the pace, a testament to Hill's skill in putting all the pieces together. (Oct.)
Over the years, Hill has employed interesting—and sometimes jarring—narrative techniques, and the 24th installment (after The Price of Butcher's Meat) in his Yorkshire-set series featuring detectives Andy Dalziel and Pete Pascoe is no exception: the novel takes place in the course of a single day. Dalziel is still adjusting to being back at work after his injuries and long convalescence. He is asked to help Gina Wolfe, wife of long-missing detective Alex Wolfe. Dalziel quickly sees that the case is much more complicated than it appears, and he and the team spend a dizzying day uncovering leads and trying to protect Gina from dangerous characters from Alex's past. VERDICT This complicated mystery with great characters and a fast pace will attract Hill's loyal following and fans of British police procedurals. Hill is a very talented wordsmith as well, and his works should appeal to those seeking out well-written, carefully crafted crime novels.—Beth Lindsay, Washington State Univ. Libs., Pullman
The search for a colleague long presumed dead leads Chief Supt. Andrew Dalziel to 16 of the most jam-packed hours ever to strike the Mid-Yorkshire Constabulary. Following the death of their daughter Lucy seven years ago, Gina Wolfe left her husband Alex, a one-time police inspector dropped from the Ilford force over unproved accusations of bribery. Alex retaliated by disappearing. Now Gina's fallen in love with his old boss, Commander Mick Purdy, and can't remarry unless Alex is proven to be dead. The problem is, he doesn't act dead. Someone's sent a recent photo of a man who looks like his twin to Gina, and Purdy has encouraged her to talk to his old mate Andy Dalziel, still recovering from a near-fatal bombing (The Price of Butcher's Meat, 2008, etc.), about tracking him down. Before Andy can do more than take Gina to lunch, a nefarious pair stalking her on behalf of shady financier Goldie Gidman make their move. The resulting violence will send one of Andy's favorite constables to the hospital, an inoffensive young man to the morgue, DCI Peter Pascoe to the forefront and the survivors scurrying about as if they were being chased by malefactors with pitchforks and burning brands. What mystery there is in the case of Alex Wolfe's disappearance is solved with insolent dispatch, but Hill keeps a particularly nasty surprise up his sleeve for last. The accelerated timetable gives Dalziel and Pascoe's 24th a Rube Goldberg effervescence that contrasts effectively with the pervasive sadness beneath.
New York Times Book Review
“This seemingly simple case turns into a major puzzler... Hill writes of these tricky matters in a fluid and witty style that eventually lifts the old lion from his torpor and restorse him to roaring health.”
Globe and Mail (Toronto)
“Hill’s achievement here should be savoured. . . . It’s a tiny perfect thrill of perfection. This is one of Hill’s best novels, one of the best this year or any year.”
“[The] most amusing and satisfying of all the Dalziel and Pascoe books. . . . A master of the British police procedural.”
A must for series fans
San Diego Union-Tribune
One of the best of the Brits, Reginald Hill, adds another winner to his résumé and another chapter to the saga of Dalziel and Pascoe—with Midnight Fugue
“Hill juggles multiple intertwined subplots and characters, inflicting plenty of murder and mayhem on the populace before Dalziel wraps it all up in one 24-hour day. As clever and twisty as ever, this is another winner from an old master.”
“The sleights of hand that Hill manages to pull off are stunning, not to mention the sly, wry style of a rogue with a dry wit and a sharp eye. . . . It’s a tour de force that Hill manages to pull off with ease.”
“[Hill] does it again in his new Dalziel and Pascoe book, Midnight Fugue, succeeding in brilliant fashion... His writing is assured and relaxed. His touch is deft, and he even allows Fat Andy to show a caring and sentimental side, something surprising in the great old copper’s senior years.”
Globe & Mail (Toronto)
"Hill’s achievement here should be savoured. . . . It’s a tiny perfect thrill of perfection. This is one of Hill’s best novels, one of the best this year or any year."
Read an Excerpt
'Shit,' said Andy Dalziel as the phone rang.
In twenty minutes the CID's monthly case review meeting was due to start, the first since his return. In the old days this wasn't a problem. He'd have rolled in late and watched them bolt their bacon butties and sit up straight. But if he was late now they'd probably think he'd forgotten the way to the Station. So time was short and Monday-morning traffic was always a pain. Nowt that using his siren and jumping a few red lights couldn't compensate for, but if he wasn't on his way in the next couple of minutes, he might have to run over a few pedestrians too.
He grabbed his car keys and headed for the front door.
Behind him the answer machine clicked in and a voice he didn't recognize faded behind him down the narrow hallway.
'Andy, hi. Mick Purdy, remember me? We met at Bramshill a few years back. Happy days, eh? So how're you doing, mate? Still shagging the sheep up there in the frozen north? Listen, if you could give me a bell, I'd really appreciate it. My number's . . .'
As the Fat Man slid into his car he dug into his memory bank. These days, especially with recent stuff, it sometimes seemed that the harder he looked, the darker it got. Curiously, deeper often meant clearer, and his Mick Purdy memories were pretty deep.
It wasn't a few years since he'd been on that Bramshill course; more like eight or nine. Even then, he'd been the oldest officer there by a long way, the reason being that for a decade or more he'd managed to find a way of wriggling out of attendance whenever his name came up. But finally his concentration had lapsed.
It hadn't been so bad. The official side had been slightly less tedious than anticipated, and there'd been a bunch of convivial colleagues, grateful to find someone they could rely on to get them to bed when their own legs proved less hollow than they'd imagined. DI Mick Purdy had usually been one of the last men standing, and he and Dalziel had struck up a holiday friendship based on shared professional scepticism and divided regional loyalties. They exchanged harmonious anecdotes offering particular instances of the universal truth that most of those in charge of HM Constabulary couldn't organize a fuck-up in a brothel. Then, when concord got boring, they divided geographically with Purdy claiming to believe that up in Yorkshire in times of dearth they ate their young, and Dalziel countering that down in London they'd produced a younger generation that not even a starving vulture could stomach.
They'd parted with the usual expressions of good will and hope that their paths would cross again. But they never had. And now here was Mick Purdy ringing him at home first thing on a Monday morning, wanting to renew acquaintance.
Meaning, unless he were finally giving way to a long repressed passion, the bugger wanted a favour.
Interesting. But not so interesting it couldn't wait. Important thing this morning was to be there when his motley crew drifted into the meeting, seated in his chair of state, clearly the monarch of all he surveyed, ready to call them to account for what they'd done with their meagre talents during his absence.
He turned the key in the ignition and heard the familiar ursine growl. The old Rover had much in common with its driver, he thought complacently. Bodywork crap, interior packed with more rubbish than a builder's skip, but – courtesy of the lads in the police garage – the engine would have graced a vehicle ten times younger and five times more expensive.
He put it into gear and blasted away from the kerb.
From the Hardcover edition.