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Dialogues of the Dead by Reginald Hill

Dialogues of the Dead (2001)

by Reginald Hill

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Dalziel and Pascoe (19)

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5891316,710 (3.91)11



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Showing 1-5 of 13 (next | show all)
Someone is murdering people at random and then leaving a detailed “dialogue” about each murder at the local library. Dubbed “the Wordman,” this mysterious individual leads Dalziel, Pascoe and their colleagues on a chase throughout their Yorkshire patch, becoming more elusive even while leaving more and more erudite clues….This is, I think, the 18th or 19th book in the long-running Dalziel and Pascoe series, and to my mind it’s one of the best, not only because of the richness of the characters and their lives, but for the richness of the language, which Mr. Hill uses to devastating effect this time around. As it happens, this is one of the rare occasions when I figured out “who did it” well before the detectives did, which is always a satisfying extra when reading detective fiction. Recommended! ( )
  thefirstalicat | Jun 20, 2017 |
Bloody magnificent - one of his best, and there's no one better. ( )
  Superenigmatix | Jan 16, 2016 |
My first Dalziel and Pascoe mystery. Though this is the 19th of 24 in the series, it was pretty easy to pick up the rough shape of the backstory. The series of murders in the book stretches our credulity nearly to the breaking point, but not quite. Hill seems to like to play--while he doesn't turn his back on reality or realism, there is a sense in which he recognizes the novel as a sort of game and in which he asks us to realize this as well. In spite of having lived with this series for a very long time (more than 30 years at the time this one was published), Hill seems genuinely fond of the characters he has created, and they are quite likable. I can't say I'll read them all, but I will certainly be looking for some of the high points in this long series for later enjoyment. ( )
  ehines | Sep 28, 2014 |
Only okay. Serial killer, twisted ending. ( )
  njcur | Feb 13, 2014 |
Detective Constable Bowler, who, in a fit of paranomasia (wordplay, punning) has been nicknamed, "Hat," would like to date Ray (Raina) Pamona, the local reference librarian. She and her boss, Dee, have been assigned the onerous task of judging submissions to the local fiction story contest. Dee and Ray notice that two of the entries from the same writer bear striking resemblance to two recent unexplained deaths, and they wonder how the writer could have obtained such intimate details. They turn the stories over to Hat. Enter Superintendent Dalziel (pronounced "Dee-él" ) and DCI Pascoe. Dalziel is his usual fat, curmudgeonly self who mutters things like, " 'Don't want them blowflies from the media around till we know there's dead meat and it's not us,' " and " 'One thing you've got to say about George [another inspector], he's been real conscientious helping to break in his replacement. ' 'Thought we weren't getting a replacement, sir' [said Sergeant Wield]. 'That's what I mean,' " replied Dalziel. Andy Dalziel loves hiding his rapier-sharp mind behind crude talk and behavior, and he loves to deflate pompous egos, pretending to misunderstand their pedantries. When one expert adviser presents what he calls an "interesting" theory, Dalziel responds, "If you're waiting for a bus and a giraffe walks down the street, that's interesting. But it doesn't get you anywhere."

DCI Peter Pascoe remains the perfect foil. Well-educated and refined, he's conscientious to a fault and impeccably polite even if he does have a snit on about an ex-convict he thinks might be the killer.

The detectives are soon in the midst of numerous investigations, as the "Wordman" so-named embarks on a killing spree, tantilizing the public and police by sending literate descriptive passages describing how the murders were accomplished.

All of Hill's books revel in paranomania ( a clinical obsession with word games), but in this one he has outdone himself. Virtually every page has some kind of pun, and it turns out the murderer was using the beginning and ending word entries of volumes of the OED to define his/her (believe me, you'll thank me for not revealing the gender of the murderer) next victim.

Hill is so erudite it can take your breath away, and how he can come up with phrases like the following defy my imagination: ...

The ending will astonish and surprise you. ( )
  ecw0647 | Sep 30, 2013 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Reginald Hillprimary authorall editionscalculated
Gyllenhak, UlfTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0060528095, Mass Market Paperback)

Normally, there would be nothing sinister about a death by drowning and a motorcycle fatality -- had these tragic occurrences not been predicted before the fact in a pair of macabre "Dialogues" submitted to a Yorkshire short story competition. Yet the local police department is slow to act -- until the arrival of a third Dialogue ... and another corpse. A darkness is settling over a terrorized community, brought on by a genius fiend who hides clues to his horrific acts in complex riddles and brilliant wordplay. Now two seasoned CID investigators, Peter Pascoe and "Fat Andy" Dalziel, are racing against a clock whose every tick signals more blood and outrage, caught in the twisted game of a diabolical killer who is turning their jurisdiction into a slaughterhouse.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:36 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

A man drowns, another dies in a motorbike crash. The Mid-Yorkshire Gazette receives correspondence from someone claiming responsibility for the deaths. When a third murder takes place, Dalziel and Pascoe find themselves playing games.

» see all 2 descriptions

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