cover image Death Comes for the Fat Man

Death Comes for the Fat Man

Reginald Hill, . . HarperCollins, $24.95 (404pp) ISBN 978-0-06-082082-4

Hill, who has created and artfully guided the destinies of Yorkshire policemen Det. Supt. Andy Dalziel (aka "the Fat Man") and his DCI Peter Pascoe through 22 remarkable adventures, doesn't give anything away until the very last page of this excellent mystery (after 2004's Good Morning, Midnight ). Only then do we learn whether or not the bomb blast that starts the story marks the end of Dalziel's life. As the Fat Man lies comatose in his hospital bed, the shrewd and usually diplomatic Pascoe—who was also injured in the blast, but saved by his colleague's bulk—takes on some of Dalziel's troublesome tenacity (as well as a touch of his saltier language) as he forces his way onto the team of antiterrorism specialists looking into the incident. The terrorists appear to be linked to an obscure branch of the historic Knights Templar, and Hill's perfect pitch (especially for the short, pithy details of dialogue and character description) carries the story through all sorts of villains—some of whom are even directly connected to the cops. (Mar.)