The Price of Butchers Meat
Harper, Nov 2008, $25.95
Needing to recover from "the big bang in Mill Street" that nearly killed him (see DEATH COMES FOR THE FAT MAN) and no one able or willing to take him in, Detective Superintendent Andy Dalziel heeds the advice of Ellie Pascoe, wife of the Chief Inspector. He obtains a room at the Avalon in Sandytown by the sea, “the Home of the Healthy Holiday”.
As he records his feelings per his therapist, Dalziel quickly realizes three families own the small resort town under the auspices of the Sandytown Development Consortium. The Parkers, Denhams and Hollises have ambitious plans for Sandytown until Lady Denham dies mysteriously. Chief Inspector Peter Pascoe leads the investigation in which Dalziel wants in if nothing else at least as a consultant; on the other hand Pascoe desperately wants to keep his sick leave pal “Fat Andy” out so he can lead the show.
This is a refreshing excellent follow-up to DEATH COMES FOR THE FAT MAN. The structure is a radical departure from the long running Dalziel-Pascoe police procedurals as it is told in six interrelated but unique volumes that make the tale more than a whodunit; the story line is a deep character study allowing insight into Dalziel via his taped observations and email sent by local Charlie Whiffle. With a nod to “Janeites” and homage to Jane Austen and her unfinished novel, Reginald Hill provides a great tale.