The last book I read in 100 words: The Roar of the Butterflies by Reginald Hill

by Stephen Tall on September 19, 2012

The Roar of the Butterflies, Reginald Hill

My summer holiday reading this year contained a gaping hole: for the first time in a decade, since I discovered Reginald Hill, I had no new Dalziel and Pascoe book to catch up on. I’ve read them all, and Hill’s death this year put a definitive end to my favourite British detective series.

In their stead I tried his other detective protagonist, that most unlikely of private investigators, Luton-based ex-lathe operator Joe Sixsmith. It’s intentionally lighter, frothier — this book in particular appears almost an homage to PG Wodehouse with it’s ‘Royal Hoo’ golf setting and ‘What Ho!’ victim, Chris Porphyry, nicknamed Young Fair God — yet just as pitch-perfectly plotted.

Hill is as incapable of creating boring characters as he is of putting boring dialogue in their imagined mouths. You can either dismiss the results as unrealistic; or revel in an author at ease with his craft. I think you can guess which side I’m on.