Asking for the Moon: Four Dalziel and Pascoe Adventures

Reginald Hill, Author Foul Play Press $21 (272p) ISBN 978-0-88150-382-1
The young and cultured Peter Pascoe and the rotund, gruff Andy Dalziel have been paired to memorable effect in several outstanding crime novels (most recently, Beyond the Wood). Now, Hill's loyal readers are presented with four novellas that, in turn, introduce the pair, let each take a rare solo detecting flight and, perhaps weirdest of all, enter a space-age future for an almost absurd swansong for the mismatched twosome. Dalziel is taken hostage in the first story, ""The Last National Service Man,"" and the young Pascoe gets to meet the tough Yorkshire copper for the first time under very strained circumstances. Ghost stories permeate the next two adventures, ""Pascoe's Ghost"" and ""Dalziel' Ghost."" In the first, Pascoe hunts in vain for a missing woman; in the next, the duo sit out a long night in a haunted house, and Dalziel, after several good-sized hits on the whisky bottle, lets slip a few secrets from his past. Finally, in ""One Small Step,"" an older, gout-riddled Dalziel is taken aboard a space ship at the start of the 21st century, after a French astronaut trips and dies stepping onto the moon in full view of the TV cameras. As always, Hill enjoys tampering with the traditions of the genre and these four works serve less as working narratives than as welcome changes of pace that incorporate character studies, intimate and unguarded moments and flights of pure fancy. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 11/04/1996
Release date: 11/01/1996
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