Monday, February 16, 2009

A CURE FOR ALL DISEASES by Reginald Hill (2008)

This is one of the books praised by CBC Radio's mystery panel over the holidays, and my copy arrived last week at my local Toronto Public Library branch. I haven't read any other novels by Hill, but the wit and dialect and playfulness of this one have piqued my curiosity and I'll be looking for back titles on the shelves.

The novel opens with Detective Andy Dalziel convalescing in a peaceful seaside rehab centre in Sandytown. Dalziel has been given a handheld digital voice recorder as part of his psychological therapy and he christens the brushed nickle machine "Mildred" and confides all to her, from his intended trysts to his observations about the locals.

Two principal landowners in the sleepy seaside town seem to have different agendas about the town's intended development and one of them ends up murdered in a gruesome way.

The complimentary plot line, like a complimentary therapy itself, is provided through emails from budding psychologist Charlotte Heywood to her sister who is nursing in Africa. Charley rattles on about the locals and then immerses herself in the case especially as the corpses begin to pile up.

I felt like I could sit down and have a pint with Dalziel and any number of the peculiar locals in a town where indeed death is the cure for all diseases.

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