DEADHEADS by Reginald Hill


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Yorkshire cops Dalziel and Pascoe (A Killing Kindness, Ruling Passion) make a welcome return here--but, with the killer out-front throughout, this is more a black-comic entertainment than a murder-mystery. A prologue shows us little Patrick Aldermann secretly triggering his Auntie Florence's fatal heart attack; then it's 20 years later, and Patrick is a rising accountant at the Perfects Co. (bathroom fixtures). Has Patrick, in fact, murdered several people to get near to the top? So believes his boss Dick Elgood, who confides in Inspector Pascoe. Indeed, the more that Pascoe looks into Patrick's past, the more suspicious deaths he finds: virtually anyone who stood in Patrick's way (about anything) soon had a fatal accident. And it now seems likely that Elgood (who's dallying with Patrick's wife Daphne) is the next target--but the cops can't yet make an arrest: too little hard evidence. . . not to mention some complicating personal relationships. (Daphne is chums with Pascoe's wife Ellie; fat old Dalziel is sleeping with Patrick's mum Penelope!) With a nice, low-key fadeout and a botanical motif throughout: sly, tart British crime-entertainment--uncompelling, a bit overextended, but drily engaging.
Pub Date: May 22nd, 1984
ISBN: 1934609595
Page count: 309pp
Publisher: Macmillan
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15th, 1984


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