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Child's Play, by Reginald Hill

February 3, 2014

Felony of the Week: Child’s Play, by Reginald Hill

Picking a favorite among the Dalziel and Pascoe novels is, for me, like trying to pick a favorite Cole Porter song. On lyrics alone, “You’re the Top” is pretty hard to beat, but how could I consign “Brush Up Your Shakespeare” to second place? And so it is with the Hills. Do I choose one of the books that showcases the glorious Andy Dalziel, easily one of the rudest and most spectacular characters in mystery fiction? Or do I opt instead to shine a spotlight on the less bumptious but no less interesting Peter Pascoe, who grows over the course of the series from a callow youth into a surprisingly original man?

For today, we’re picking an unlikely character to love: The stolid, close-to-boring Sergeant Wield. In Child’s Play he makes a simple decision that expands the entire series like a whoosh! of helium into a balloon…and blows both Pascoe’s and Dalziel’s minds in the process. You may not be surprised by the nature of Wield’s revelation, but – as is always, so marvelously, the case with Hill – the reactions are not at all what you may have been expecting. Child’s Play is on sale this week, and we couldn’t recommend it more highly. It’s the National Gallery, it’s Garbo’s salary, it’s Ovaltine!*

*This, I should say, is a lyric from “You’re the Top”

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