Hill, Reginald. Bones and Silence.

NY: Delacorte, 1990.

This is the twelfth volume in the long-running police procedural series, set in Yorkshire, featuring the loud, pushy, profane, bearlike Detective Superintendent Andy Dalziel and his university-educated, more liberal, and far more intellectual subordinate, DCI Peter Pascoe. Their town includes a semi-professional theater which is gaining a certain measure of regional fame, due to the management of Eileen Chung, bigger than life (and taller than most), who is organizing a revival of the medieval mystery plays. And she wants Dalziel to play God. It’s pure typecasting.

But Dalziel has his hands full with an apparent murder he witnessed through a neighbor’s window while standing on his back porch one night. A local builder (who has the contract for an new extension to police headquarters) seems to have shot his wife dead in the presence of her lover. But, of course, not all is as it seems and Dalziel is going to spend a number of months trying to get his case together, despite everyone else’s apparent sympathy for the supposed culprit. On top of all that, Dalziel has been getting a series of letters from someone planning to commit suicide, which he passes on to Pascoe. Maybe the writer wants to be convinced not to do it, but maybe he or she just wants to vent.

This has generally become a very good series, but this entry has some problems. First (and perhaps it’s just me), the pace drags badly. The case takes a long time to come together and we keep losing sight of what’s happening. That’s a lack of narrative control on the author’s part. Second, the suspect whom Dalziel insists on pursuing is nearly unbelievable in his ability to come up with convincing stories and alibis on less than a moment’s notice. He’s simply not realistic. Well, you can’t win ‘em all.

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Published in: on 27 December 2016 at 11:51 am  Leave a Comment  
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