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Bones and Silence (1990)

de Reginald Hill

Séries: Dalziel and Pascoe (11)

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7081732,510 (3.77)25
Detective Dalziel is busy being sick in a bucket. Raising his head, he sees a movement in a neighbour's window and could swear he is witnessing a murder. Is it the string of double whiskys playing games with his eyes, or is it for real and if so, who is the murderer and who is the victim?
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Mostrando 1-5 de 17 (seguinte | mostrar todas)
Maybe even 4.5*... I liked the way the main plot was interwoven with the secondary mystery of the 'Dark Lady'. I was certain that I had spotted who the Dark Lady was but in the end was shown to be wrong (though my guess wasn't a bad one).

I loved the writing in this book and may end up reading this whole series. The one major obstacle to my deciding to do that is that I find Dalziel so very unappealing. It isn't just his vulgarity but also his rotten behaviour to his colleagues and sometimes questionable methods. I have watched the TV adaptation and Dalziel is even worse in the book! However, the team of crass DSI Dalziel, college-educated DI Peter Pascoe & gay DS Wield makes for an interesting cross-section.

One small detail - I was surprised by how tall Eileen Chung was (75 inches = 6'3"), especially as her mother was Malaysian and Asian women averaged a height of ~5' even into the 1990s. It was mentioned a few times during the book and each time I was startled. ( )
  leslie.98 | Jun 27, 2023 |
Accidents, Suicides or Murders?
Review of the Grafton Books paperback edition (1991) of the Collins Crime Club hardcover original (1990)

We are only lightly covered with buttoned cloth; and beneath these pavements are shells, bones and silence. - excerpt from Virginia Woolf's The Waves used as part of the epigraph for Bones and Silence


Yorkshire CID Detective Superintendent Andy Dalziel (pronounced "dee-ELL") and assistants Detective Inspector Peter Pascoe and Detective Sergeant Wield are caught up in an elaborate series of apparent accidents, suicides and disappearances which are either an extended series of coincidences or the result of masterful nefarious planning.

Dalziel himself is an indirect witness to one of the "suicides," but the two other surviving witnesses provide statements which contradict not only him but each other. Someone is lying or could the corpulent Superintendent actually be wrong? Even the normally loyal Pascoe and Wield begin to have their doubts. But then the bodies continue to pile up and an evasive character seems to be the manipulator behind the scenes. How will they find any evidence to prove it?

Dalziel as usual is in fine form ranting and raging against the inefficiency of others:

'Because it's worth it to me,' grunted Dalziel. 'One, I'll break my own promises, not wait till someone give me permission. And two, I want to know. He might be a useless specimen but he's from my patch, and he went south to work, not to die, it that's what happened to him. I wouldn't put it past them cockneys. 'Here' a dead 'un, not one of ours, another bloody northener, when's the next load of rubbish going out to the tip?' It's time they knew they've got me to answer to!'
This was the nearest thing to a radical political statement Pascoe had ever heard from the Superintendent. It wasn't going to usher in the Socialist Millennium, but shouted loud enough, it might cause a little unease in Thatcherland.


The side-plots involve the staging of a cycle of Mystery Plays as organized and directed by the controversial local theatre personality Eileen Chung who plans to rope Dalziel himself into the production in the role of God with the aid of her friend Ellie Pascoe and her somewhat unwilling husband. And there is a series of anonymous notes appearing on the Superintendent's desk which promise yet another suicide, unless the secret identity of Dalziel's 'Dark Lady' can be unveiled in time. The climactic scene is a completely unexpected shocker.

This was again one of the best of the Dalziel & Pascoe series that I've read in my current 2022 re-read mini-binge (I don't own all of them) due to the extensive characterizations that author Hill develops throughout and the constant entertainment of Dalziel's outrageous statements and sometime off the wall deductions.

See cover image at https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/4/4e/BonesAndSilence.jpg
Cover image of the original Collins Crime Club hardcover edition (1990). Image sourced from Wikipedia.

I re-read Bones and Silence due to a recent discovery of my old mystery paperbacks from the 1980s in a storage locker cleanout. I was also curious about the precedents for Mick Herron's Jackson Lamb in the Slough House espionage series in the personality of Reginald Hill's Chief Inspector Andy Dalziel, which Herron has acknowledged.

See photograph at https://pbs.twimg.com/media/FZkxI4CXkAAu2sG?format=jpg&name=large
Book haul of the early Dalziel and Pascoe paperbacks, mostly from Grafton Books in the 1980s. Image sourced from Twitter.

Trivia and Link
Bones and Silence was adapted for television in 1998 as Episode 3 of Series 3 of the long running TV series of Dalziel and Pascoe (1996-2007). The entire episode is posted on YouTube here, but it is formatted in a way that makes it hard to watch. ( )
  alanteder | Sep 24, 2022 |
Maybe even 4.5*... I liked the way the main plot was interwoven with the secondary mystery of the 'Dark Lady'. I was certain that I had spotted who the Dark Lady was but in the end was shown to be wrong (though my guess wasn't a bad one).

I loved the writing in this book and may end up reading this whole series. The one major obstacle to my deciding to do that is that I find Dalziel so very unappealing. It isn't just his vulgarity but also his rotten behaviour to his colleagues and sometimes questionable methods. I have watched the TV adaptation and Dalziel is even worse in the book! However, the team of crass DSI Dalziel, college-educated DI Peter Pascoe & gay DS Wield makes for an interesting cross-section.

One small detail - I was surprised by how tall Eileen Chung was (75 inches = 6'3"), especially as her mother was Malaysian and Asian women averaged a height of ~5' even into the 1990s. It was mentioned a few times during the book and each time I was startled. ( )
  leslie.98 | Jun 30, 2020 |
I really enjoy the audiobooks of the Dalziel and Pasco series that are read by Brian Glover. Great accent, although it's occasionally hard to decipher, but the voices are great.

Dalziel witnesses the murder of a woman. Problem is that his story doesn't match those of others present in the room. As one would expect, his badgering and harassment soon reveals a host of nefarious activities.There's a side plot, the outcome of which I found a bit bizarre and unsatisfying. A woman has written to Dalziel that she intends to commit suicide and there i an underlying challenge for him to find her. He dismisses, it and it remains for Pasco, at the very end of the book to discover the woman's identity. In the meantime, Dalziel has been cast as God (!) in a local play.

Several readers have complained the book is not one of Hill's best and that the book drags. The beauty of the series is in the language, ribaldry, and the characters and their interactions. ( )
  ecw0647 | Jul 15, 2017 |
Chief Superintendent Dalziel witnesses the shooting death of a woman from his kitchen window; it appears to him that either the woman’s husband or lover killed her. But when questioned about the events, both men swear the woman killed herself and what Dalziel saw was each of them trying to get the gun away from her before it went off. When it turns out that the woman was a rich American and that the husband has serious financial problems, Dalziel’s suspicions ratchet up even higher, but he just can’t seem to get anybody to believe him…. I began reading Reginald Hill’s "Bones and Silence" immediately after finishing the previous book in the Dalziel and Pascoe series because of events in that book, which unfortunately weren’t really answered with this one. Never mind; it’s a rollicking story and there’s a marvelous sub-plot about a Mystery Play being performed in town with Dalziel serving as God Himself, which is quite a hoot. Recommended! ( )
  thefirstalicat | Dec 17, 2016 |
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"We insist, it seems, on living. Then again, indifference descends. The roar of the traffic, the passage of undifferentiated faces, this way and that way, drugs me into dreams; rubs features from faces. People might walk through me ... We are only lightly covered with buttoned cloth; and beneath these pavements are shells, bones and silence." --Virginia Woolf: The Waves
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Detective Dalziel is busy being sick in a bucket. Raising his head, he sees a movement in a neighbour's window and could swear he is witnessing a murder. Is it the string of double whiskys playing games with his eyes, or is it for real and if so, who is the murderer and who is the victim?

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