cover image An April Shroud

An April Shroud

Reginald Hill. Foul Play Press, $15.95 (255pp) ISBN 978-0-88150-065-3

Fans of Hill's procedurals featuring Superintendent Dalziel and Inspector Pascoe may be startled at encountering Dalziel out of character. In the first U.S. publication of a 1975 work, Dalziel is mainly on his own, during Pascoe's honeymoon, and is, if not in love, at least in lust. Stranded in the country by heavy April rains, Dalziel is rescued by an odd funeral procesion led by new widow Bonnie Fielding. Dalziel is bothered by the mourners' casual airs and even more by the sensuously ripe Bonnie. Complications arise when he discovers the strange manner in which Bonnie's husband died, the possibility of an insurance scam, the mortal fear of Bonnie's father-in-law and the realization that all the Fieldings, including Bonnie, are suspects in a possible murder. The usually gruff, if not brutish, Dalziel begins an affair with Bonnie and when two more bodies are found he launches his own discreet investigation. Hill's high standards of humor and civilized characterization are intact here, and justice and ambiguity are served in satisfactory fashion. (April 28)