Je n'aime pas dans les vieux films américains quand les conducteurs ne regardent pas la route. Et de ratage en ratage, on s'habitue à ne jamais dépasser le stade du brouillon. La vie n'est que l'interminable répétition d'une représentation qui n'aura jamais lieu.

Underworld (1988) - Reginald Hill

Finally hit a pretty bad Dalziel & Pascoe novel.  This is the tenth novel, I think, in the series and so far the series has never gotten down to average in my opinion.  They’ve always been at least above average; some of them have been great novels.  In this one, an old case gets raked up when a young man returns to his small mining community; years before his father committed suicide after being accused of murdering a young girl.  He’s back to find out the truth.  The mystery here is, I have to say, the simplest one of the entire series.  And Pascoe’s crusading wife, Ellie, has a large part to play here, but I thought she was utterly mischaracterized.  She’s always in the books, if only in a supporting role, and I appreciate the effort to have her take more of a leading role, but she was butchered beyond recognition; not in a thousand years could I believe that she’d do and say the things she does here.  The best thing about the book is a side character who was also in Child’s Play, the previous novel, a police officer who’s retired after being passed up for a big promotion at the end of Child’s Play; he’s bitter, weary and cynical here and I really liked the way he was developed from being the pompous, often comic relief character in Child’s Play into a really sympathetic character in this one.  But on the whole, I was really disappointed with this one.  1 ½ stars.

tl;dr – disappointing entry in typically solid detective series is marred by predictable plot & inconsistent characterization.  1 ½ stars.

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