25 June 2008


Collins Crime 1996, 272 pages, ISBN 0-00-2325128

A collection of 4 short stories published 1979-1994.
Many thanks to Peter Beyond Borders for recommending I read them. Well worth hunting them down.

The Last National Serviceman (1994)
Reginald Hill takes us back two decades and tells us how Andy Dalziel and Peter Pascoe first met. When Andy is abducted by a man known as "the last national serviceman", a bond is forged between him and Constable Peter Pascoe.

Pascoe's Ghost (1979)
The chapter headings in this novella are all from the poetical works of Edgar Allan Poe. Detective Inspector Peter Pascoe is investigating a missing person case, rather reminiscent of Golden Age village mysteries. Kate Swithenback disappeared just on a year ago and it seems likely that she was murdered, although her body has never been found. Dalziel makes only small cameo appearances as Pascoe investigates anonymous claims that the husband, now playing the field, has a case to answer.

Dalziel's Ghost (1979)
Dalziel and Pascoe end up staying the night in a haunted house belonging to Pascoe's accountant. But nothing is ever as it seems and Fat Andy's reasons for doing anything are always devious.

One Small Step (1990)
In my opinion this is the pick of the crop and interesting to read in the light of what we know the 21st century has held for the duo.
The year is 2010 and Peter Pascoe is now the UK Commissioner in the Eurofed Justice Department. Andy Dalziel is retired, and, in his own words, he's "a pensioned-off bobby, suffering from gout, distiller's droop, and the monstrous regiment of visiting nurses". In front of 227 million television witnesses including Fat Andy, the first man murdered on the moon spectacularly falls off the ladder connecting his module to moon's surface, and dies. Pascoe has to solve the crime and he whisks Dalziel away from his gout bed to the moon to assist in his investigation.
Andy Dalziel gets the chance to see how far his protege has come, but is he still the upright, play-it-by-the-book man he was?
The gem in this story lies in the Foreword where Hill recounts a conversation between himself and his characters on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of them "being together". He writes this story as a birthday present.

My rating: 4.5


BooksPlease said...

I must, just must read these short stories - great review.

Peter Rozovsky said...

You're quite welcome. I decided Hill must be something special if he could make something as wild as that last story work. And it works!
Detectives Beyond Borders
"Because Murder Is More Fun Away From Home"


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