(Masterpieces of Fiction, Detective and Mystery Edition)

Reginald Hill introduced Andy Dalziel and Peter Pascoe in A Clubbable Woman (1970), and followed this work with An Advancement of Learning (1971). Such titles indicated early on the wordplay and double entendres that would become staples of the series: The victim in the first novel is not just “clubby” but bludgeoned to death, and the second novel’s title as well as its chapter epigrams come from the writings of Sir Francis Bacon. Hill has been praised for his precise characterization, from the ample use of Yorkshire dialect and manners to the deployment of various points of view in the narration, voice-over techniques, interior monologues, and fragments of letters and diaries. In the later novels, Hill has been given to ingenious plots that function on several levels other than the investigation of the central crime. He has said he does not consider his books police procedurals per se but simply good stories.