January 15, 2012

THE POLITICAL INCORRECTNESS WAS THE POINT:

OBIT: Reginald Hill: Reginald Hill, who has died aged 75, wrote 24 bestselling Dalziel and Pascoe novels, which were the basis of 12 successful BBC television series. (The Telegraph, 13 Jan 201210)

Hill introduced his two Yorkshire detectives, Supt Andrew Dalziel and Sgt Peter Pascoe, in his first novel, A Clubbable Woman (1970). More than one critic has seen in them echoes of Falstaff and Hal, while Hill himself characterised them as a subtle variation on the traditional Holmes-Watson partnership. But, as Keating noted, neither is Holmes and neither is Watson.

Instead, the two men learn from each other in a continuing clash of temperaments. "They respect each other," observed Hill's fellow crime writer Martin Edwards, "but have irreconcilably different outlooks."

Hill featured them again in the follow-up, An Advancement Of Learning (1971), which drew on his own experiences as a college lecturer.

It was in this second novel that Hill began to develop the long-term relationship between his two protagonists, with Dalziel, the overweight, old-style pugnacious cutter of corners, contrasting with Pascoe, slighter of build, a sociology graduate and liberal thinker.

Hill's structural devices included presenting parts of the story in non-chronological order, or alternating with sections from a novel supposedly written by Pascoe's feminist wife, Ellie, who also features in the novels. With a fourth member of the cast, the gay Sgt Wield, Hill trod a fine line between modern liberal values and the earthy wit of Dalziel, who accepts the junior officer despite delivering a barrage of crude jokes.


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Posted by at January 15, 2012 8:31 AM
  

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