ON BEULAH HEIGHT by Reginald Hill


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Fifteen years ago, life in the farms of Dendale ended--not only because they were sunk beneath a newly created reservoir, but because three little girls from the neighborhood were lured away, presumably by vanished teenager Benny Lightfoot, and never seen again. Now a fourth girl has disappeared from the nearby village of Danby, and Supt. Andrew Dalziel and Chief Inspector Peter Pascoe, called in to a hopeless investigation, find themselves staring again into the same old gaping wounds of families who’ve never recovered from their agonized grief. Sightings of Benny dot the map; a graffiti artist has announced “BENNY’S BACK!”on an old railroad bridge; and mezzo-soprano Elizabeth Wulfstan, adoptive daughter of one of the bereaved families, is determined to regale the crowds at the annual music festival her father sponsors with her new translation of Mahler’s Kindertotenlieder (“Songs on the Death of Children”). Dispersing his Yorkshire coppers as generously as searchers for the girl’s body, Hill mixes elements from Pilgrim’s Progress, a child’s fairy-tale nightmares, and Midlands mythology, and uncovers enough secrets--murder, suicide, impersonation, adultery, child abuse, family rivalries, squalid betrayals, loving cover-ups--for a season’s worth of lesser volumes. Though the dizzying complexities are even harder to keep straight than the fabulous cross-plotting of The Wood Beyond (1996), Hill continues to offer the best value for the money in the contemporary mystery field.

Pub Date: July 10th, 1998
ISBN: 0-385-33278-5
Page count: 352pp
Publisher: Delacorte
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1st, 1998


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