RIP Reginald Hill

(image: Harper Collins Publishers)

The British writer Reginald Hill died on Thursday at the age of 75. The author of nearly sixty books (some published under the pseudonyms Charles Underhill and Patrick Ruell), he is best known as the creator of Yorkshire police detective duo Andy Dalziel and Peter Pascoe. Memorably played on screen in the hugely popular series of BBC adaptations starring Warren Clarke and Colin Buchan, it ran from 1996 to 2007. He won the coveted Golden Dagger Award for Bones and Silence in 1990. Mike Ripley has written a typically affectionate obituary for The Guardian which you can read online here.

Other celebrations of his life and work can be found over at Mike’s old stomping ground, The Daily Telegraph, as well while Jeff Pierce has reported the news over at The Rap Sheet. Another fine tribute can be found at Martin Edwards’ blog here. The best tribute of course is just to go out and read one of his fine books, which varied from humorous to somber, from espionage and psychological suspense, to his celebrated police procedurals. His most recently published novel, The Woodsman, came out last year but I’ll go right back to beginning for my personal tribute soon with a review of A Clubbable Woman (1970), which introduced Dalziel and Pascoe.


  • A Clubbable Woman (1970)
  • An Advancement of Learning (1971)
  • Fell of Dark (1971)
  • The Castle of the Demon (1971) (As Patrick Ruell)
  • A Fairly Dangerous Thing (1972)
  • Red Christmas (1972) (As Patrick Ruell)
  • Ruling Passion (1973)
  • Heart Clock (1973) (As Dick Morland)
  • Death Takes a Low Road (1974) (As Patrick Ruell)
  • A Very Good Hater (1974)
  • Albion! Albion! (1974) (As Dick Morland)
  • An April Shroud (1975)
  • Beyond the Bone (1975) (As Patrick Ruell)
  • Another Death in Venice (1976)
  • A Pinch of Snuff (1978)
  • Captain Fantom (1978) (As Charles Underhill)
  • The Forging of Fantom (1979)
  • Pascoe’s Ghost and Other Brief Chronicles of Crime (1979)
  • A Killing Kindness (1980)
  • The Spy’s Wife (1980)
  • Who Guards a Prince? (1982)
  • Traitor’s Blood (1983)
  • Guardians of the Prince (1983)
  • Deadheads (1983)
  • Exit Lines (1984)
  • No Man’s Land (1985)
  • The Long Kill (1986) (As Patrick Ruell)
  • Child’s Play (1987)
  • There Are No Ghosts in the Soviet Union and Other Stories (1987)
  • The Collaborators (1987)
  • Death of a Dormouse (1987) (As Patrick Ruell)
  • Under World (1988)
  • Dream of Darkness (1989) (As Patrick Ruell)
  • Bones and Silence (1990)
  • One Small Step (1990), novella
  • Recalled to Life (1992)
  • Brother’s Keeper (1992)
  • The Only Game (1993) (As Patrick Ruell)
  • Blood Sympathy (1993)
  • Pictures of Perfection (1994)
  • The Wood Beyond (1995)
  • Born Guilty (1995)
  • Asking for the Moon (1996), short stories
  • Killing the Lawyers (1997)
  • Singing the Sadness (1999)
  • On Beulah Height (1998)
  • Arms and the Women (1999)
  • Dialogues of the Dead (2002)
  • Death’s Jest-Book (2003)
  • Good Morning Midnight (2004)
  • The Stranger House (2005)
  • The Death of Dalziel (2007)
  • A Cure for All Diseases (2008)
  • The Roar of the Butterflies (2008)
  • Midnight Fugue (2009)
  • The Woodcutter (2010)
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5 Responses to RIP Reginald Hill

  1. I have heard a lot about Reginald Hill but as is the case with so many other crime-fiction writers I haven’t read Hill either. Are his two detectives, Dalziel and Pascoe, anything like Dexter’s Inspector Morse? I certainly hope to read some of Hill’s works soon.

    • Like Dexter you could argue that Hill’s work shows a lot of respect for the Gold Age in terms of clever plotting and proper clues – on the other hand, Hill tends to be more naturalistic with less of an emphasis on the crossword type logic, with a greater interest in darker aspects if his characters, while the relationship between the two men is a lot spikier, especially as its the younger man here (Pascoe) who has had the University education and its the older one that is rougher around the edges. Would love to know what you make of his books. Hill was very prolific so there is certainly plenty to choose from.

  2. It’s a great loss to the genre. I’m particularly fond of his early work, but some of the later books – notably for me Dialogues of the Dead – are absolutely fantastic. That one has a great series of puzzles in it. There is also the shear gall of (I think) A Killing Kindness, but I can’t say anything without spoiling it. Other later books – such as Death’s Jest Book – veered far too close to literature for my taste, but was still very well written. Certainly a writer who was never content to be pigeon-holed, even when writing a series featuring the same characters. I’ll be making a point to get back to his work very soon.

    • Hello Doc, thanks very much for the comments – I haven’t read Dialogues of the Dead but will see about getting that right away. I think a lot of critics both celebrated Hill’s varied output but were not always convinced that the mixture of plot, theme and character quite came off – his ambition and intelligence remain uncontested however. It has been quite a while since I picked up some of his books but I greatly look forward to remedying that in the coming weeks.

  3. Pingback: A CLUBBABLE WOMAN (1970) by Reginald Hill | Tipping My Fedora

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