Hill, Reginald. A Killing Kindness.

NY: Pantheon, 1980.

This sixth entry in the long-running series about Detective Superintendent Andy Dalziel of Mid-Yorkshire CID and his crew is the best so far in terms of plot and action, and also in the way Hill handles the killer’s motives. On the other hand, it’s pretty wince-producing as you witness the way the loud, fat, arse-scratching, anti-intellectual, woman-belittling, suspect-abusing, science-dismissing Dalziel goes about his work.

Hill seems to think the reader will find him amusing, and possibly that was the case thirty-odd years ago, but not now. If I were outlining this novel in 2015, I would have Fat Andy brought up short and hard in several scenes. Anyway.

The town has an apparent serial killer on the loose. Serial killers always make good fodder for detective stories, especially when there seem to be so many small links among the victims and their families and friends, but both Dalziel and his right hand, DI Peter Pascoe, suspect some of them are red herrings. Dalziel wants to tie everything back to the conveniently nearby gypsies, who have arrived to take part in the traditional two-week fair, and there are in fact some connections. The local small flying club, which mostly does gliders, also seems to be involved somehow. And when you finally discover whodunit, it may raise your eyebrows, but the clues are there all along.

Detective Sgt. Wield, who possesses the ugliest face in Yorkshire, is also back and we learn considerably more about his secrets (which were a much bigger deal in 1980). And Pascoe’s wife, Ellie, is uncomfortably pregnant, which only complicates his life during a big case.

Published in: on 10 March 2016 at 4:24 pm  Leave a Comment  
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