A New York Times Notable Book: A British detective plays God, literally, in this twisting crime thriller—“The climax is devastating” (The Times, London).
Superintendent Andrew Dalziel, while drunk, has witnessed a woman being fatally shot—but her husband claims it was an accident, and everyone seems to be buying his story. His partner, Pascoe, meanwhile, is looking into chatty letters from an anonymous sender who says her resolution for the new year is to commit suicide.
In the midst of all this, Dalziel is participating in a locally produced medieval mystery play—and has been cast in the role of God. Playing opposite him, as Lucifer, is the very man he suspects of murder . . .
“Hill’s most ambitious Dalziel/Pascoe novel yet—and one whose humor, keenness, and insight place him securely in the company of Ruth Rendell and P. D. James.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review
“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. . . . A powerful ending.” —Publishers Weekly
“No other genre author . . . writes with such feeling and understanding of silently unhappy women as does Mr. Hill in his tender character portraits of the town wives and daughters.” —The New York Times Book Review
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.