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An Advancement of Learning

de Reginald Hill

Outros autores: Veja a seção outros autores.

Séries: Dalziel and Pascoe (2)

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6282037,592 (3.57)35
All is not well at Holm Coultram College. All is not well at Holm Coultram College: lecturers having affairs with students, witches' sabbaths, a body buried under a statue. Detective Superintendent Dalziel, despite his cynical view of academics, doesn't feel murder fits in here - let alone a rash of killings. But when he and DS Pascoe are sent to investigate a disinterred corpse at Holm Coultram College, that's exactly what they find...… (mais)
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Chief Superintendent Andy Dalziel and PC Peter Pascoe are sent to Holm Coultrain College to investigate the red-haired skeleton unearthed on campus.

A bronze memorial sculpture was being relocated to make room for a lab facility. When the base was pulled up bones fell out of it. This did not set well with a number of people.

There were conflicts among the faculty and among the student body. Originally an all-female campus (students and faculty), changes had been made. To keep up with the times, it was decided to change to a mixed campus, to help bring in more money for expansion. The old guard of the faculty was against it.

Among the student body was Franny Roote, well dressed, good looking, smooth moves and quite a following among the students, especially the females. What is his draw?

Talk of a Satan cult on campus, with faculty and student members, séances, and mid-night rituals cloaked in secrecy, are rumoured. Could there be ties to the skeleton?

Who is the skeleton? When was the death and by who and how? Other murders take place on campus and questions arise about the relationship between these happenings.

Dalziel and Pasco have a full slate of clues and suspect to tie into for the solutions. Twists, turns and blind alleys make for a complicated challenge for these men. Also a good read for the reader. ( )
  ChazziFrazz | Jan 16, 2024 |
An Advancement of Writing
Review of the Grafton Books paperback (1987) of the Collins Crime Club hardcover original (1971)

It was illogical, but somehow the thought made Pascoe feel guilty.
'Perhaps he did do the damage in his cottage himself,' he suggested again. 'Like Prospero, burning his books.'
'What did we do him for?' asked Dalziel, interested.
- excerpt from An Advancement of Learning


This second in the Dalziel (pronounced Dee-El) and Pascoe series was a distinct improvement over the series opener A Clubbable Woman (1970). The earlier book was overly repellent with its misogynistic rugby club culture and an especially creepy older man / younger girl lechery scene. The detective duo also didn't do any sort of brilliant detecting but just wandered around mostly upsetting the suspect characters with a final confession provided without any dramatic confrontation.

Of course with Andy Dalziel at the head of an investigation you are pretty much guaranteed a group of upset suspects and interviewees. Plunking the cantankerous inspector into the world of academia is a guaranteed 'cat among the pigeons' scenario. Dalziel's patter also provided for various entertaining LOL moments such as the one excerpted above, likely a display of pretended ignorance. Pascoe meanwhile renews an earlier romance with young professor/aspiring novelist Ellie Soper, who becomes his wife a few books later in the series.

The case involves the accidental unearthing of a skeleton from underneath a memorial monument to a school's previous Dean. The cold case turns hot when a new victim is discovered and then an apparent suicide is either the solution to the crime spree or a clue to its final solution.

See book cover at https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/f/fd/AnAdvancementOfLearning.jpg
Cover image of the original Collins Crime Club edition 1971. Image sourced from Wikipedia.

I re-read An Advancement of Learning due to a recent discovery of my old mystery paperbacks from the 1980s in a storage locker cleanout. I was especially 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 No Link
An Advancement of Learning was adapted for the long running TV series of Dalziel and Pascoe (1996-2007) as Episode 2 of Series 1. I could not find an online trailer or posting of the episode. ( )
  alanteder | Aug 11, 2022 |
At a Yorkshire college that once only allowed women, a statue was raised in honour of an academic who died in an avalanche in Austria five years earlier. When the statue is removed in preparation for expansion the body of a woman is found under the concrete pedestal. Confirming first suspicions it is the body of the memorialized professor.

This is the second book in the Dalziel and Pascoe series and introduces Ellie who became Pascoe's wife. I have to admit that I've never really warmed to Ellie, either in print or in the TV series, she can be quite barbed. However, Andy Dalziel is happy because he can grumble about the privileged students. Trying to get them to cooperate tests his patience to the limit. I enjoyed going back in time for this one. ( )
  VivienneR | May 21, 2022 |
Holm Coultram College is expanding, and to make way for a new building, the administration has decided to uproot a memorial to a former professor. This is upsetting on its own merits for some of the faculty, but it becomes a much more widespread cause for distress when the removal of the statue and its concrete base reveals bones beneath—the actual bones of the memorialized professor. How did she get under there when she was supposed to have died in Austria? What secrets surround her murder that would lead to the deaths of others on campus? Can Dalziel and Pascoe solve the case without causing an outright riot?

This is the second book in the series, and it’s pretty good. Some of the Dalziel and Pascoe books play around with form and structure, which can become rather complex, but this one is a straightforward case. That said, I didn’t guess whodunnit but was mostly OK with going along for the ride. I did roll my eyes a bit at some of the 70s attitudes toward women, but fortunately the most obnoxious people of that stripe got their just deserts.

This is a good choice if you’re looking to try out the series and perhaps if you like Morse — the college setting is a bit Oxford-feeling, even though this book is set in Yorkshire. ( )
  rabbitprincess | Oct 12, 2019 |
Written in the early 1970s and it shows cos it's dreadfully sexist. But it was still very readable. It's interesting that I didn't write this review until I'd finished another crime book written recently and this one is far better written despite the sexism. ( )
  infjsarah | Mar 18, 2016 |
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Reginald Hillautor principaltodas as ediçõescalculado
Rantanen, AulisTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
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...to have the true testimonies of learning to be better heard, without the interruption of tacit objections, I think good to deliver it from the discredits and disgraces it hath received, all from ignorance; but ignorance severally disguised; appearing sometimes in the zeal and jealousy of divines; sometimes in the severity and arrogance of politiques; and sometimes in errors and imperfections of learned men themselves.
--Sir Francis Bacon
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All is not well at Holm Coultram College. All is not well at Holm Coultram College: lecturers having affairs with students, witches' sabbaths, a body buried under a statue. Detective Superintendent Dalziel, despite his cynical view of academics, doesn't feel murder fits in here - let alone a rash of killings. But when he and DS Pascoe are sent to investigate a disinterred corpse at Holm Coultram College, that's exactly what they find...

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