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10 thoughts on “An April Shroud

  1. says:

    In which Dalziel becomes humanFollowing newly minted Inspector Peter Pascoe’s wedding to Elly Soper Detective Superintendent Andy Dalziel sets off on a little holiday His plan is to drive around the countryside hoping to find enough of interest to keep him occupied but in reality he’s feeling a little lost and even lonely Peter’s wedding has brought home to him his own lack of family and he’s reached as high as he’s likely to go in his career But his plans are put on hold when April showers turn into a veritable flood and his car becomes waterlogged Rescued by a family returning from a funeral he goes with them to their home Lake House to dry off and phone a garage But the combination of an intriguing death in the family and the friendly charms of the remarkably cheerful widow persuade him to prolong his visitOne of the things that always kept this series fresh was that Hill regularly changed the focus among the various characters In this one Andy gets his first solo outing Peter makes token appearances at the beginning and end but plays no real part in the story This gives Hill the chance to let the reader get to know Andy from the inside – prior to this we’d really always seen him through someone else’s eyes usually Peter’s Although I grew very fond of all the major characters – Pascoe Elly Wieldy Novello – Dalziel was always the one I enjoyed most He’s such an intriguing mix of brash uncouth Yorkshireman – a big loud crude bullying brute of a man – and well hidden sensitivity a man who might use blatantly offensive homophobic terms but will defend his gay colleagues at a time when that was highly unusual; who can be hideously sexist in the language he uses to women but who respects their intelligence and strength far than many of his politically correct colleagues; who is no respecter of class but who uses his own mostly artificial veneer of uncultured boorishness as a blunt weapon to dominate any company he’s in from the rugby club to the manor houseThis is the book where we really begin to see him as than a caricature As he finds himself drawn towards the widow Bonnie he gets sucked into a moral uagmire largely of his own making The police have investigated the death of Conrad Fielding and have reluctantly concluded it was an accident despite the fact that the insurance claim on his death will come in very handy for the rest of the household Lake House is costly to live in and too run down to let so the family have come up with a scheme to convert part of it into a mock Medieval Banueting Hall But funding has run out and bankruptcy looms unless the insurance money comes through in time for them to finish the work on the place before the scheduled opening in a couple of weeks’ time As Andy gets to know the family better he has to decide whether to share what he learns about them with the local police or keep his suspicions to himself It’s not as if he knows anything for sureHill also has fun with the characters in the house from the elderly poet Hereward about to be given an award he feels he should have been given years ago when young enough to enjoy it to the budding film maker who augments his income by taking the kind of girlie photos that show up in the less respectable kind of magazine to the Woosterish young man who wants nothing than to punt on the lake shooting ducks The widow herself is a typically wonderful Hill woman – strong intelligent generous uite possibly wicked definitely ambiguous A Yorkshire femme fatale Is she attracted to Andy for his innate charm and manly physiue? Even Andy is doubtful about that Or is she using him as protection from the interest of the local police?The mystery itself becomes complicated when bodies begin to show up in unexpected places Accidents? Murders? Connected or coincidental? Andy will eventually work it all out but then he’ll still have to decide what to do about it And meantime the inaugural Medieval Banuet grows ever closerLots of humour as always but in this one Hill gives us the first real indication of how the series will develop in terms of depth of characterisation and the complicated relationship between our two main players Dalziel and Pascoe And in this one for the first time we begin to see that Andy is human too with all the vulnerabilities and sensitivities he so successfully hides from the world As always highly recommended – the best detective series of all timewwwfictionfanblogwordpresscom

  2. says:

    Best opening scene ever

  3. says:

    So so Perhaps I've had too many Brit detective pairings or perhaps it's just this volume but I couldn't uite warm to it After dominating the last one newly married Pascoe is now missing for most of the story So it's just Dalziel scratching away at one body part or another his own and dealing with about a dozen new characters whom I had a hard time telling apart and whose names and back stories I didn't really care about The next one will decide whether I'll continue with this series

  4. says:

    This was the fourth in what became an amazing series of books about Detective Inspector Peter Pascoe and his outrageous superintendent Andrew Dalziel known behind his back as Fat Andy They are surely one of the most brilliant pairs of sleuths ever devised and I never get tired of reading about them This one takes us all the way back to the wedding of Peter and Ellie whose honeymoon coincides with an enforced holiday by Fat Andy In no short order he gets embroiled in a mystery a good thing since he has absolutely no idea how to take a vacationThis outing features the usual bizarre set of characters in a dilapidated country house; in desperation they hope to repair their fortunes by staging Medieval Banuets Andy arrives during the funeral for the father who has apparently fallen from a ladder and impaled himself on an electric drill I thought I'd read every possible variation on possible murder weapons but this was a new one to meI have to include at least one uote fleshing out Dalziel's character His attitude to physical clues was rather like that of the modern Christian to miracles They could happen but probably not just at the moment

  5. says:

    Ironically the TV series featuring Dalziel and Pascoe retitled this book “Autumn Shroud” I hate it when they do that I’m a huge fan of the Dalziel and Pascoe novelsFollowing Pascoe’s wedding to Ellie Andy is off on a two week holiday but he has no idea what to do with himself other than drive around and when his car breaks down he finds himself intrigued by a family burying a father and husband in a singularly emotionless fashion In his inimitable way he insinuates himself into their house not to mention the widow and discovers a nice little mystery on which to work his magic Pascoe hardly makes an appearance in this novel so Andy’s personal foibles and detective talents are showcasedIn one scene so unlike the protagonist hero worship of most novels Dalziel and Bonnie go to bed together and it’s really uite a funny scene with Bonnie almost making fun of him Then again as he notes his idea of foreplay when he was married was a six packFirst rate Hill novel Very ably read by Colin Buchanan who plays Pascoe in the TV series

  6. says:

    After Pascoe and Ellie getting center stage in Ruling Passion it's only fair that Dalziel gets a book to himself although I was a bit dubious about a solo Dalziel novel It actually works much better than I would have expected with Dalziel going on holiday in horrible weather getting stranded in a big house in the country with a family called the Fieldings and uickly discovering that there's a mystery to be solved Multiple mysteries in fact Though Dalziel works remarkably well as a solo protagonist I still don't think this will rank as one of my favorites in this series The story was plenty entertaining but there were so many odd and unpleasant characters among the Fieldings and their friends and so many little intrigues and deceptions that the final unravelling felt a bit anticlimactic On the other hand we get Dalziel in a giant floppy green velvet hat

  7. says:

    What a clever man Mr Hill was; he is the master of the introduction and will always surprise you at the end

  8. says:

    I read this book a long time ago but really couldn’t remember the plot This time I listened on audiobook and it was such a treat I’d forgotten how rich the language used bury Reginald Hill can be The audio version was read by Colin Buchanan who played Peter Pasco one of the main characters in the TV series Dalziel Pasco based onhill’s novelsAn April Shroud is early in the series of books 4 and Superintendent Andy Dalziel is taking his first holiday for many years while Pasco is on his honeymoon Let’s just say things don’t go to plan and Dalziel gets embroiled in a family whose fortunes are on the slideI laughed out loud on several occasions while listening to this book and I plan to re read Reginald Hill

  9. says:

    Dalzeil at his most bumptious on his own and surrounded by water and eccentric characters in a perfect parody of the 'English country house mystery So funbut I've come to realize one thing about Mr Hillhe felt free to pop back and forth in the chronology of his world so I have given up any attempt at reading the books in order Really doesn't matter Unlike Louise Penny's crime novels where the plot is heavily influenced by the novel that came before and while building on the past gives away uite a lot of the circumstances Hill's novels mention things but you can enjoy the story without fear of spoiling a future read of the previous Back and forth we go

  10. says:

    First Sentence No one knew how it came about the Dalziel was making a speechWith Pascoe off on his honeymoon Dalziel Dee Ell is taking a holiday of his own Things uickly go awry when his car is swamped in a flooding road He is rescued by a group of rather happy mourners and taken to a decrepit mansion to dry off More seems wrong than just the state of the abode; there’s a preserved rat in the freezer and the very appealing mistress of the manner twice widowed in suspicious circumstances When bodies become a fact of the present rather than the past Dalziel isn’t leaving until the murderer is foundIt was nice to see Dalziel on his own for most of this book He is fat crass rude politically incorrect and altogether repulsive And he’s wonderful He is the type of character you’d rather not know or even be around but you can’t help but like him and would always want him on your side Aside from Pascoe who is absent from most of this book none of the characters are appealing In addition to Hill creating a very vivid cast of characters is the writing Hill is an amazing author He lovingly created a masterful and complex plot with plenty of twists and an element of suspense It was a wonderful version of the “country manor” mystery Hill's descriptions and dialogue with delightful sharp humor kept me engaged from first page to last He truly demonstrated that one can tell a complete compelling story in 187 pages in my edition I am having a delightful time working my way through this series I highly recommend Dalziel and Pascoe to allAN APRIL SHROUD Pol Proc Dalziel and Pascoe England Cont – VGHill Reginald – 4th in seriesFoul Play Press 1975 US Hardcopy