Reginald Hill “raised the classical British mystery to new heights” when he introduced pugnacious Yorkshire Det. Inspector Andrew Dalziel and his partner, the callow Sgt. Peter Pascoe (The New York Times Book Review). Their chafing differences in education, manners, technique, and temperament made them “the most remarkable duo in the annals of crime fiction” (Toronto Star). Adapted into a long-running hit show for the BBC, the Gold Dagger Award–winning series is now available as ebooks.
It was a cold-blooded murder committed in one of Yorkshire’s country estates. The conspirators: Sir Ralph Mickledore and his lover, American nanny Cissy Kohler. The victim: Mickledore’s hapless wife. Mickledore’s execution for the open-and-shut case made headlines. Thirty years later, so has Cissy’s parole in light of new testimony suggesting her innocence. But when the witness whose long-suppressed evidence is murdered, Dalziel and Pascoe realize the damage done by the fatal affair isn’t over. But whose secrets will prove more revealing? Those buried with Mickledore and his wife a generation ago? Or those Cissy is holding on to for dear life?
Recalled to Life is the 14th book in the Dalziel and Pascoe Mysteries, but you may enjoy reading the series in any order.
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
'I tell thee that although it is a long time on the road, it is on the road and coming.'
It was the best of crimes, it was the worst of crimes; it was born of love, it was spawned by greed; it was completely unplanned, it was coldly premeditated; it was an open-and-shut case, it was a locked-room mystery; it was the act of a guileless girl, it was the work of a scheming scoundrel; it was the end of an era, it was the start of an era; a man with the face of a laughing boy reigned in Washington, a man with the features of a lugubrious hound ruled in Westminster; an ex-Marine got a job at a Dallas book repository, an ex-Minister of War lost a job in politics; a group known as the Beatles made their first million, a group known as the Great Train Robbers made their first two million; it was the time when those who had fought to save the world began to surrender it to those they had fought to save it for; Dixon of Dock Green was giving way to Z-Cars, Bond to Smiley, the Monsignors to the Maharishis, Matt Dillon to Bob Dylan, l.s.d. to LSD, as the sunset glow of the old Golden Age imploded into the psychedelic dawn of the new Age of Glitz.
It was the Year of Our Lord nineteen hundred and sixty-three, and it is altogether fitting that this crime of which we speak should have been committed in one of Yorkshire's great country houses, Mickledore Hall, and that its dénouement should have taken place in that most traditional of settings, the Old Library ...
The library door burst open. A man came running out. For a second he paused. The main doors stood ajar, spilling golden sunlight across the old flagged floor. He took a half step towards the light, a voice called, 'Get him!' and he turned and started up the broad sweeping staircase. He was beautifully balanced, with the tapering figure of an athlete, and his long, easy stride devoured three treads at a time.
A second man came out of the library now, almost as tall as the other, but dark where he was fair, burly and muscular where he was rangy and loose-limbed. He too glanced at the sunlit doorway for a moment. Then with unhurried pace he began to climb the stairs, taking one at a time, heavy lips pulled back from yellowing teeth in the anticipatory rictus of a hungry bear.
On the first-floor landing the fleeing man turned right without hesitation, then right again into the first room he reached. Moments later the burly man arrived in the doorway. The room led through into another, through whose open door a double bed was visible. The fair man made no effort to go any further but stood defiantly by a huge mahogany wardrobe, his shoulders tensed for battle.
'Nay, Sir Ralph, no more laking. Your fancy woman's waiting. Murder's one thing, but you'll not want accused of bad manners too.'
'What would a neanderthal like you know about manners?' sneered the fair man.
'You're dead right. Pig ignorant, that's me. This'd be what you call a dressing- room, is it? I'll take your word for it, though a dressing-room don't seem right to me without mud on the floor and a pile of old jockstraps heaving in the corner.'
As he spoke the burly man was moving slowly forward. Suddenly reacting to the danger, the other seized a linen basket which stood by the wardrobe and raised it high as if to hurl it. The top came off, spilling items of male clothing over his head and shoulders.
'Trying to make me feel at home, Sir Ralph? That's right good of you,' the burly man said, grinning.
This gibe finally broke the other's control. Screaming with rage, he flung the wardrobe door open to impede the burly man's approach and started dragging clothes off their hangers and hurling them like palms before the advancing feet. Chunky tweeds, elegant evening wear, wool, cotton and finest silk, all alike were crushed beneath that implacable tread till finally the two men stood inches apart.
A hand like a contractor's grab fell upon the fair man's shoulder. Instantly, as if its touch were anæsthetic, all life and energy seemed to drain from his limbs and the tense straining body went slack.
'Walkies,' said the burly man.
At the foot of the stairs, an older grey-haired man with a lantern jaw was waiting.
'Well done, lad,' he said.
'Shall I cuff him, sir?'
'I doubt we'll need to go as far as that, though if he gives any more bother, you can mebbe box his ears.'
The burly man laughed. The old jokes were best, especially when your boss made them.
Outside, the sun was low in the sky but still warm. It cast long shadows from the three police cars standing on the white gravel beneath the terrace. In the rearmost car's shady interior the pale face of a woman could be seen, wedged between two WPCs. She looked straight ahead, showing no more animation than a death mask.
The uniformed officers took charge of the fair man and led him down from the terrace into the second car. He turned before he got in and looked back, not at the figures above him, but at the house itself, his gaze moving slowly along the whole façade. Then he let himself be pushed into the rear seat.
On the terrace the man with the jaw spoke a few words to his burly subordinate before running lightly down the steps and getting into the leading car. He held his arm aloft through the open window, like a waggon master preparing his train. Then he let it drop forward, the cars began to crunch gravel, and at the same time their bells started to sound and their lights to flash.
Smiling broadly, the burly man stood on the terrace till he could no longer see the flashing lights nor hear the sounding bells.
Then he turned his back on the sun and slowly re-entered the house.CHAPTER 2
'You can bear a little more light?' 'I must bear it if you let it in.'
Some hot, harsh and constant. Others driven at her like snow against a stove- pipe, melting soon as touching.
A shallow platform, one step up.
She takes it, pauses, sways, hears the pause and the sway in the watcher's breath.
She thinks: So it must have felt for Mick, that first step on to the scaffold.
A hand steadies her. No executioner's hand, but her saviour's, Jay's, cousin Jay Waggs, though she cannot yet think of him as saviour. She clutches her old leather-bound Bible to her skinny breast. He smiles at her, a warm smile in a young face, and a memory is touched of faraway times, faraway places. He urges her forward.
There is a chair. She sits. To her left, a pitcher of water with a glass. To her right, a small vase out of which a spray of freesia raises its hand of glory. Before her, a posy of microphones offering some protection from the flashing bulbs and probing gazes but none from the TV cameras covering her every move, like guns on a prison watchtower.
Mr Jacklin is speaking. Her solicitor. A small grey man who looks so dry that a very little pressure might crumble him to dust. But it is a dryness which kindles to fire at the spark of injustice.
He says, 'Let me rehearse the situation in case anyone has strayed in from another planet. My client, Miss Cecily Kohler, was tried for the murder of her employer, Mrs Pamela Westropp, in nineteen sixty-three. She was found guilty and sentenced to death. The sentence was later commuted to life imprisonment. Almost from the start, doubts were expressed in some quarters about the safeness of the verdict, but circumstances conspired to make a re-examination of the case virtually impossible until, two years ago, Miss Kohler's kinsman, Jay Waggs, began to interest himself in the fate of his distant kinswoman, Cissy Kohler. The new evidence he uncovered was first presented to the public in the Ebor television programme Doubt last spring. Now the Home Secretary has at last accepted that there are serious grounds for believing there may have been a gross miscarriage of justice and he has issued a release order pending consideration of the new evidence by the Court of Appeal.
'Until the decision of that court is officially made public, I cannot of course comment on the legal implications of what has happened. But I can point out the obvious. My client has spent a longer period in jail than any other woman in the annals of English penology. It goes without saying that she will need a proportional period of readjustment to the rigours of freedom. But being aware of the great public interest in the case, she has accepted the recommendation of her advisers that she should attend this press conference in the hope that thereafter she will be permitted a long breathing space free from the importunities of the media.'
'Does that include Jay Waggs and Ebor television?' calls a sharp-faced young woman.
Jay Waggs smiles at her and says, 'One question per paper was the agreement. Is that yours, Sally?'
'No! Miss Kohler, I'm Sally Blindcrake, Daily Sphere. How did it feel when you heard you were getting out?'
Cissy Kohler speaks so softly not even the posy of mikes can pick it up.
'Sorry? I couldn't catch that.'
'She says she felt nothing,' says Waggs. 'Next question.'
'Nothing?' insists Blindcrake incredulously. 'After all those years you're told you're innocent, and you feel nothing?'
Kohler raises her head and speaks again, this time loud enough to be heard.
'I knew it already.'
A pause, then laughter, a ripple of applause.
'Next,' says Waggs.
'Martin Redditch, BBC television. Miss Kohler, you didn't apply for parole until nineteen seventy-six, though you could have applied earlier. Why was that?'
She frowns and says, 'I wasn't ready.'
'Ready for what?' shouts someone, but Redditch is pressing on, regardless of the one question limit.
'But you were ready in 'seventy-six, right. And it looked like you were getting out, till you attacked and killed Officer Daphne Bush in Beddington Prison. At least, you got tried and sentenced for killing her. Or are you claiming to be innocent of that killing too?'
She takes her time, not as if the effort of remembering is painful so much as if the machinery of memory is rusty.
Finally: 'I killed her,' she says.
Redditch tries to follow, up once more but now Waggs cuts him off.
'OK, Martin, you got two in. We'll call it one for each channel. Next!'
'Norman Proudfoot, Church Times. Miss Kohler, the TV programme mentioned the Bible your mother gave you as a child. I presume it's that same Bible you're carrying now. Can you tell us what comfort you have drawn from it during your long imprisonment?'
She looks down at the book still clutched tight against her breast.
'It helped me look in at myself. Without it, I don't think I'd have survived.'
This is the longest answer she gives. The questions come thick and fast, some aggressive, some insinuating, some simply inane. All receive the same treatment — a pause followed by a short reply in a soft monotonous voice. Soon Waggs ceases to intervene and relaxes, faintly smiling as the cohorts of the Press dash themselves vainly against the walls of her solitude.
At last the room is silent. Waggs asks, 'All done?'
Sally Blindcrake says, 'I know I've had my question but it was so long ago I've forgotten what it was. How about me closing the circle?'
'In the interests of balance? Well, that's certainly a novelty in the Sphere, Sally. OK. Last question.'
'Miss Kohler. Cecily. Cissy. If you were innocent, why did you confess?'
This time the preliminary pause goes on and on.
Blindcrake says, 'OK, let me rephrase the question. Not only did you confess, but your alleged confession implicated Ralph Mickledore, to such an extent that, along with the other evidence against him, it sent him to the gallows. Was he innocent too?'
Waggs says, 'OK, Sally, I should have known better. That does it, folks ...'
'No! Hold on. I need an answer, Jay. It was your telly programme that suggested she was so smashed up by little Emily's drowning that she was fair game for anyone. If she's innocent, then who's guilty? And I don't just mean of the murder. Who was it who twisted her arm till she stuck it up?'
Now Waggs is on his feet, drawing Kohler upright too.
Jacklin leans over to the mikes and says, 'I cannot allow my client to answer that question outside of a courtroom. We must remember the law of defamation ...'
'Defamation nothing! You can't defame the dead,' yells Blindcrake. 'And isn't the guy most likely the late Detective-Superintendent Walter Tallantire, then Head of Mid-Yorkshire CID?'
Waggs is urging Kohler off the platform. Any discipline the press conference might have had is rapidly disappearing. Cameramen and reporters jostle each other in their efforts to get near the woman. They spill out of the body of the hall and get between her and the door. The air is filled with a blizzard of flash bulbs and a babble of voices.
'... What about compensation? ... Will you go back to the States? ... Are you suing the police? ... Is it true you've written your memoirs? ... How much are they paying? ... Have you heard from James Westropp? ... What's his son Philip doing now? ... Did you mean to drown the kid? ... Is it true you're going into a nunnery? ... Was Daphne Bush your lover? ...'
Three uniformed policemen have appeared. They clear a path to the door. One of them flings it open. A camera peers through, momentarily revealing a long corridor in which several men are standing. Then Kohler and Jacklin are through. Waggs turns in the doorway, helping the police to block pursuit. Someone shouts, 'Hey, Jay. When they make the movie, how about Schwarzenegger playing you?'
Waggs grins and says, 'Thank you for your courtesy, gentlemen, and ladies. That's it. End of story.'
He steps back through the door. A policeman pulls it shut behind him.
The scene fades, to be replaced by a close-up of a woman with dead eyes and a mobile lower lip who says, 'The rest of our programme will be running approximately forty minutes late because of that news conference. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause to viewers ...'CHAPTER 3
'Come on, and have it out in plain words! You hate the fellow.'
Detective-Superintendent Andrew Dalziel of Mid-Yorkshire CID stabbed the off- button of the video remote control as if he wanted to drive it through his knee.
'Bastards!' he said. 'Bitch!'
'The poor woman,' said Maudie Tallantire.
'Poor nowt. She were guilty as hell,' said Dalziel. 'Three people are dead because of her. I'd have thrown away the key! You save your sympathy for yourself, Maudie. You heard what that newspaper cow said about Wally?'
'Wally's been dead nigh on twenty years,' said Maud Tallantire as if explaining something to a simple child. 'He's past harm now and who'd want to harm an old woman like me? Oh, I know the times have changed, and I reckon us old 'uns had the best of it, war and all. Everyone knew where they were going then, and in the years after. But it all went wrong somewhere, Andy. But human nature doesn't change. At heart people are still as good as ever they were. They'd rather do you a good turn than a bad one. Look at you, Andy, coming all this way just 'cos you got to worrying about me, and no need at all!'
Dalziel shook his head in affectionate exasperation. Anyone who could cite himself as evidence of the basic goodness of human nature was clearly beyond hope. Maudie was over seventy now, grey-haired, slightly lame, but she hadn't changed in essence from the pretty, amiable and rather vague woman he'd met more than thirty years ago, and very little, if report were true, from the wide-eyed lass who'd married Wally Tallantire back in the 'thirties.
'Copper's wife has got to be either tough as old boots to put up with the life, or live in a world of her own so she don't notice,' Wally had once confided in him when time and alcohol had matured their relationship. 'That's my Maudie. A rare orchid, Andy. She'll need looking out for if anything ever happens to me. You'll do that for me, won't you, lad? Do I have your word on that?'
Dalziel had given his word gladly, but in the event, when Tallantire died of a heart attack shortly before he was due to retire, Maudie proved quite capable of looking out for herself. Within a year she'd moved back to her native Skipton and quickly gathered up the threads of her young life, broken when she'd moved from West to Mid-Yorkshire all those years ago.
Dalziel visited regularly for a while, then intermittently, and in recent years hardly at all. But when he saw the Kohler press conference on the telly, he knew the time had come for another visit.
He'd been going to suggest that Maudie might like to think about staying with friends for a couple of days just in case the Press came prying, but he wasn't a man to waste breath. Instead he ran his video back a little way, restarted it, and pressed the freeze button when he reached the shot of the corridor through the open door.(Continues…)
Excerpted from "Recalled to Life"
Copyright © 1992 Estate of Reginald Hill.
Excerpted by permission of MysteriousPress.com/Open Road Integrated Media.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Although I must say that this is your typical English cozy mystery, I mean that in the very best sense ¿ it¿s fun to read, moves along in a brisk fashion, and presents an intriguing puzzle (and of course, it all begins at an English manor in the country). I thoroughly enjoyed this light offering feature Detectives Dalziel and Pascoe and will probably seek out more in the series.
Have read all his books and really like the characters and plots. All great reads.