cover image Bones and Silence

Bones and Silence

Reginald Hill. Delacorte Press, $17.95 (336pp) ISBN 978-0-385-30130-5

If further evidence were needed, this latest mystery confirms Hill's place among top British writers who produce solid stories of detection that succeed as first-rate novels exploring human character. Set in a cathedral city which will host a contemporary enactment of medieval mystery plays, Hill's narrative features the police duo Andrew Dalziel and Peter Pascoe looking into a series of related murders and disappearances tied to a builder who is coincidentally constructing garages for the police station. Meanwhile, the galvanizing director of the mystery plays, Eileen Chung, has cast Dalziel as God and the builder in question as Lucifer. While hectic preparations ensue, Pascoe is left to respond to the anonymous letters of a woman predicting her own suicide. Hill is at his best here, lending authenticity even to such character types as a stuffy canon and his disillusioned wife, and bringing to life shady businessmen, shapely blondes and his mismatched pair of sleuths. A powerful ending caps Hill's strongest novel to date. (Aug.)