Good Morning, Midnight Summary (Reginald Hill)

Reginald Hill

Good Morning, Midnight

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

The fast-paced Good Morning, Midnight begins with scenes of strange, violent events, seemingly unrelated, tautly and precisely described. Pal Maciver has apparently committed suicide, and his method seems to echo in every detail the suicide of his father years earlier. Yorkshire detective superintendent Andy Dalziel and detective Peter Pascoe are drawn into the investigation, but Pascoe does most of the work in this inquiry, as Dalziel seems reluctant for some reason to follow the trail aggressively. Pascoe finds blockades set up at every turn, but continues to dig deeper into the mystery, even when it is clear that the apparent suicide has its roots in forces far stronger and more dangerous than any Pascoe has faced to date.

Other mysterious and interesting characters surface: the beautiful and secretive Kay Kafka, and her entrepreneur husband Tony; the hooker Dolores who appears to be curious about ongoing events and then disappears; the fey elderly woman who watches birds but seems to hint at a knowledge of many secret things. The deaths include motifs of musical passages and parts of Emily Dickinson poems. Pascoe does not understand Dalziel’s unwillingness to fully participate in the investigation, but eventually it all begins to make sense, as each event reveals to Pascoe more about the complicated background of the current incidents. Neither events nor people turn out to be quite what they seem.

The big drawing card for this series is the rich characterization of Andy Dalziel and Peter Pascoe; these two remain a strong attraction, and their fans will appreciate the subtle interchanges and contrasts between them. However, some readers may find that the plot is so layered and complex that threads of it get lost.