Hill, Reginald. Midnight Fugue.

NY: HarperCollins, 2009.

Sadly, this is the last novel about Detective Superintendent Andrew Dalziel and DCI Peter Pascoe of Mid-Yorkshire CID before the author’s death, but it’s not a bad one to be going out with. The story revolves around the very wealthy “Goldie” Gidman, who made his money as a loan shark and financier of organized crime before he eased his way into the straight world of business and Tory politics.

His son, David, now a rising young Member of Parliament, apparently knows nothing of his father’s early history. The cops have been trying to get something on Goldie for decades but have been unsuccessful. And then Gina Wolfe turns up in Yorkshire, searching for her police officer husband who disappeared seven years before, following his investigation on corruption charges involving Gidman. Commander Mick Purdy, her new romantic connection (and her husband’s old boss) and an old acquaintance of Dalziel’s, has referred her to the Super, who is just now coming back to work after having been blown up by a terrorist’s bomb two books before.

Is Fat Andy actually ready to resume his duties? He’s not really sure he’s capable of making a comeback, and neither is anyone else. Pascoe, who has been running the local show with a free hand for months — and enjoying it — is trying both to protect his boss and to get him to follow the rules, but (no surprise) he’s not cooperating. Maybe assisting Gina in her quest, strictly unofficially, is a way for Dalziel to get back into the job. But he’ll have to be wary of Gidman’s “fixer” and her brother, who are also tasked with locating the missing husband, and for entirely different reasons. And they had all better watch out for David Gidman’s rather mousy but highly efficient PA.

The plot wends its way through these convoluted relationships, gradually revealing the details of the characters and the assorted plots in which they are engaged, and the deeper truth from the past is slowly uncovered. The pace is perfect and the dialogue sparkles as usual. It’s a shame there will be no more installments of the homicide squad’s adventures in darkest Yorkshire.


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