Mystery Books for Sale

[ Home ]
[ About | Reviews | Search | Submit ]


by Reginald Hill
Dell Books, April 1997
375 pages
ISBN: 0440218039

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Peter Pascoe's grandmother has died and he is dealing with her estate. Her last wish is to have her ashes thrown on the grounds of the Yorkshire Fusilier's. Peter tries to do so, but finds that the regiment has been combined with others and their former parade grounds are now a supermarket, but there is a museum. When he tries to spread the ashes in the fireplace, the curator of the museum finds him and starts telling him stories of the battles for Passchendaele during WW I.

During a demonstration on a rainy night, by animal rights activists, a group of women while breaking into the grounds of a pharmaceutical research company, fall into a pit and come up with a skeleton. The ancient wood around the lab building have been cut down by the security company for ALBA pharmaceuticals, so the area around the house looks like a war zone. They get into the lab building and the police are brought in. These eight women seem reasonably harmless, but there is a body.

Ada had never told Peter much about the family. He knew they were from Yorkshire, but had moved south. Hilary Studholme, the curator of the Fusiliers museum, brings Peter information about a man, also called Peter Pascoe, who was hanged for cowardice at Passchendaele in 1917, but his grandmother was called Ada Clarke, and she was an only child, so how could this earlier Peter Pascoe be his great-grandfather?

Forget about characterization, story line, or mystery, although all are present and well done, and revel in the language. Hill describes the village of Kirkton, ancient home of the Pascoe family before that other Peter Pascoe was killed, as it appears now, after the drug company had built a high wall across the old High Street.

The nineteenth century had brought the city closer and the twentieth had completed the job, with tentacles of urban sprawl running out like rivulets of Vesuvian lava, threatening, touching, consuming, and finally passing on, leaving a dead and dusty landcape in their wake.

There are two complete stories here that intertwine and finally come together at the end. The mud of Yorkshire and the mud of France become the same. Andy Dalziel falls in lust with one of the agitators and Wield and Pascoe try to keep him safe and solve the mystery of what's going on at Wanwood. But the more fascinating tale is that of the "Great War" as WWI was called before we knew that it was not the war to end all wars, told through the diary of that earlier Peter Pascoe.

As with most, if not all of Hill's series, this one, although originally published in 1996, is still in print. This review is based on a paperback published in England in 2000.

, available from CrimeBks@aol.com

Reviewed by Barbara Franchi, April 2002

[ Top ]



Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

[ About | Reviews | Search | Submit ]
[ Home ]