In a post that I did last year regarding the series that I wanted to begin reading, I mentioned Reginald Hill’s Dalziel and Pascoe series. It had been on my reading radar for several years and I had even picked up their first book a couple of years back at a book fair. From the shelves, it’d teasingly tempt me. So this year, I reached out and picked it up. Did it live up to my expectations?
Sam Connon, once a rugby hopeful for England before an ankle injury robbed him of that chance, returns home one day from a rough local match in which he was hit viciously on the head. Delayed because of the injury, his dizzying spells, and an encouter with the traffic policemen, Connon returns home to find his wife so miffed with him that she doesn’t acknowledge his presence but rather continues to watch TV. He staggers upstairs and collapses unconcious on the bed. When he wakes up and goes down, he finds his wife dead in the high-backed chair.
Enter the two detectives, the rather crude Dalziel and the polished university-educated Pascoe. Who could have wanted Mary Connon, who was once the belle of the Rugby club, dead? Her husband? The new belle of the club? Her jealous husband? As the investigators dig deep, they find that there were quite a few people ready to murder Mary. After all, she was a most ‘clubbable woman’.
I love Police Procedurals which showcase the chemistry between the members of the police team. The vulgar, itchy, scratching Dalziel, at first, was a little too crude for my liking (and I thought the author was overdoing things in order to present a contrasting set of detectives) but he had grown most likeable by the end of the book, especially when he talked of his wife leaving him. Pascoe, saddled with such a senior, seemed a milk-sop though he too grew on me. One thing that both had in common, however, were the lascivious thoughts that crossed their minds when they came in contact with the women of the case. In fact, there is a lot of objectification of women through out the novel. And that’s why I am so surprised that I enjoyed a book that was full of – sweaty, boozing, middle-aged men, occupied with either a game or a woman – so much. I am very much looking forward to reading the next in the series.
Have you read the book? Did you enjoy it or did you find it objectionable?
First Line: “He’s all right….”
Publication Details: London: Harper, 2013
First Published: 1970
Series: Dalziel and Pascoe #1
Submitted for Friday’s Forgotten Books at Sweet Freedom.