Friday, December 28, 2012

A Clubbable Woman

I was in the mood this year for some books that took place around the Christmas season but weren't typically Christmas-y. I did some searching on google and found several possibilities, one of which was A Clubbable Woman by Reginald Hill. This 1970 novel is the first book in a series of British detective mysteries that have been adapted for TV as Dalziel and Pascoe. The books were recommended by Viktoria in a comment on a previous post.

The events in this book occur in the days leading up to Christmas, with the celebration of that day being entirely incidental to the plot. I enjoyed this book. The characters are distinctive and their interactions interesting. I did find the wrap-up unsatisfying and unconvincing, but I'm willing to read more in the series to give the characters a chance.

from the back of the book:
Mary Connon was a small-town femme fatale, eager to test her allure on any man between 6 and 60. When she's found dead in her own living room, her husband - the one bloke to whom she never blew a kiss - comes instantly under suspicion. But Andy Dalziel, the gloriously vulgar savant of the Mid-Yorkshire police force, has some other ideas, and all of them center on the local rugby club - the town's social center, and Mary Connon's preferred hunting ground.

Peter Pascoe, Dalziel's young sergeant, suspects that his new boss's interest in the club has at least as much to do with access to good beer as it does with solving the murder. But while Dalziel never said no to a pint or three, Pascoe has much to learn about Fat Andy's uniquely effective methodology. With A Clubbable Woman - the first in an astonishing, multi-award-winning series - his education begins.
Kirkus Reviews closes with this:
Neither as dark nor as funny as later, better Hill, with Dalziel and Pascoe (still unmarried) not yet fully-drawn--but curious and atmospheric in its moody, rugby-centered, plodding way.
Reginald Hill died this year, and Mystery Scene Magazine has a lengthy article of appreciation, saying,
The death in January 2012 of Reginald Hill, at the age of 75, has robbed crime fiction of a towering figure, one of the outstanding British mystery writers of the past half century.


  1. Glad you gave Hill a chance and liked him. This is the first in a long series, and it´s interesting for someone interested in writing how Hill gains in confidence and skill along the way. The books become longer and more complex all the time. I am so sad he died this year.

    1. yes, thx for the suggestion. :) i'll be keeping my eye open for more in this series and maybe even give the mystery series dalziel and pascoe a chance. they seem like they would translate well to video

    2. They were very good, as long as Hill himself was involved. After a few seasons, the producers started making suggestions to him what to write, and he withdrew, sometime around season 4, I think. After that, all kinds of sh... I mean, bad things started to happen in the series, like Pascoe getting divorced and all his new girlfriends being murderers or getting killed, more or less. None of this goes on in the books, where Ellie Pascoe continues to be a strong, interesting and driving character. However, they still made some good episodes, always based on the books. The last two seasons we haven´t even bothered to watch, even though I have them stocked away on dvd somewhere. I understand long-lasting series must be written, to some extent, around actors and their career-decisions, and I suppose this way we have two versions of the D&P-universe!