Reginald Hill

Books: Mystery

Dalziel & Pascoe: A Clubbable Woman (1970)

A Clubbable Woman (1970)

I’ve been in the mood for mysteries recently, so I’ve read through most of the ones I had in the house but had not already read. I’m a fan of British mysteries, so I figured the Dalziel & Pascoe series looked interesting.

And since it was available, I picked up the first book in the series.

I was a tad bit surprised to discover the first book in the series was published the year I was born. But hey, I love Agatha Christie, and those were written before I was born, so it was just nice to be aware that elements of the story would be dated.

Interestingly, for the most part I was okay with the time, but the Rugby references were completely beyond me. It didn’t make the story unreadable–not at all–but as I know absolutely nothing about rugby, except that rugby players think football players are wimps, it did reinforce that Britain is most definitely a foreign country.

But like most other mysteries, the passions that lead to murder are unfortunately universal.

Sam Connon takes a blow to the head at a Rugby match, and ends up going home mostly bemused and somewhat disoriented. He goes to lie down with a headache when he gets home, but several hours later he’s on the phone to the police: his wife is quite dead, bashed in the head in the living room.

Interestingly, Mary Connon was not a likable character, and the more you learn about her, the less likable she is. Interesting, because I found myself feeling sympathy for those she dealt with on a daily basis, and not so much sympathy for her and her early demise.

But the main characters are Dalziel & Pascoe, the two detectives assigned to the case. Pascoe is fresh out of University, and no one can understand why I became a policeman. Dalziel is an old hand who knows everyone and seemingly everything. Although at the start there is some tension between the two, they soon do respect one another, even if they don’t trust the new/old methods.

Although parts of the story, especially the sexual mores, were dated, for the most part the story held up quite well. As I said, I did find the mystery itself held up fairly well.

All in all, and interesting series and one I think I’d like to read more of.

Rating: 7/10