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A Pinch of Snuff (1978)

de Reginald Hill

Sèrie: Dalziel and Pascoe (5)

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Everyone knew about the kind of films they showed at the Calliope Club once the Residents' Association and the local Women's Group had given them some free publicity. But when Peter Pascoe's dentist suggests that one film in particular is more than just good clean dirty fun, the inspector begins to make a few discreet inquiries. Before they bear fruit, the dentist has been accused of having sex with an underage patient, the cinema has been wrecked and its elderly owner murdered.… (més)
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» Mira també 13 mencions

Es mostren 1-5 de 9 (següent | mostra-les totes)
Distasteful Dalziel
Review of the Grafton Books paperback edition (1987) of the Collins Crime Club hardcover original (1978)

I thought the fifth in the Dalziel (pronounced Dee-Ell) and Pascoe series treated its various distasteful themes of exploitation and violence too lightly. Pascoe is diligent enough in his investigation while it seems as if the odious inspector Dalziel is downplaying what seems like the common sense instincts of the junior detective. In the end Dalziel does come around and the gang of exploiters is arrested in a rather swift and disappointing finish.

I re-read A Pinch of Snuff due to a recent discovery of my old mystery paperbacks from the 1980s in a storage locker cleanout. I was also curious about the precedents for Mick Herron's Jackson Lamb in the Slough House espionage series in the personality of Reginald Hill's Chief Inspector Andy Dalziel, which Herron has acknowledged.

See photograph at https://pbs.twimg.com/media/FZkxI4CXkAAu2sG?format=jpg&name=large
Book haul of the early Dalziel and Pascoe paperbacks, mostly from Grafton Books in the 1980s. Image sourced from Twitter.

Trivia and Link
A Pinch of Snuff was adapted as a separate 3-episode TV mini-series in 1994 before the later and better known TV series of Dalziel and Pascoe (1996-2007). Author Reginald Hill was so disappointed in the adaptation that he did not approve further adaptations with that cast. I could not find an online trailer or posting of the episodes. Information about the miniseries can be found on Wikipedia. ( )
  alanteder | Aug 28, 2022 |
There’s a new club in town, one that shows “blue movies” to a select clientele. All a bit of harmless fun, really, but when Detective Sergeant Peter Pascoe’s dentist suggests that one such film might have included some real violence to a woman, Pascoe feels obliged to follow through; before he can do too much, however, the dentist is accused of statutory rape, the owner of the club is killed and the club itself is wrecked. Somehow all these threads are linked, and Pascoe has to try to unravel them, without much support from Detective Superintendent Dalziel…. The story here is quite intricate and well constructed, with lots of red herrings and other diversions along the way. It was first published in 1984, though, and it’s quite shocking to modern readers to encounter the way domestic violence was treated in those days: basically a “shrug and forget it” from the police, and the community in general. Sensitive readers might be disconcerted, so only a mild recommendation from me. ( )
  thefirstalicat | Aug 22, 2016 |
Pascoe gets a tip that the local private film club may be showing snuff films but Dalziel doesn't seem that interested until the owner of the club is found dead. Several twists and turns before it is revealed Dalziel, as usual, had been following his own agenda and kept it close to his chest. ( )
  edwardsgt | Jul 24, 2016 |
Up to the usual high standard of the Dalziel & Pascoe series but just shy of the cherry-on-top perfection of my all-time favourites. Reginald Hill's average writing is far better than most other writers' best, however. ( )
  Vivl | Aug 15, 2013 |
An excellent Dalziel and Pascoe mystery. The subject matter is rather naughty -- a local film group that shows pornos, one of which is suspected to have an element of snuff film to it. This allegation is brought to the attention of Pascoe by his dentist. Pascoe checks it out and initially thinks there isn't much of a case to be brought, when the cinema club building is torched and vandalized and its proprietor beaten to death. The dentist, meanwhile, is accused of raping one of his underage patients. A steamy, rather twisted tale to be sure, but Dalziel and Pascoe will see it through.

This was a very good story overall. Hill provided enough description to give you an idea of what was going on without going into the realm of sordidness. Dalziel had many crude and amusing one-liners, and the narration was its usual wry self. There was even a bit of social commentary thrown in, but nothing heavy.The story kept twisting and turning -- I was never quite sure what would happen next, and the solution was quite a surprise. A worthy addition to any D+P fan's bookshelf. ( )
1 vota rabbitprincess | Mar 12, 2011 |
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Everyone knew about the kind of films they showed at the Calliope Club once the Residents' Association and the local Women's Group had given them some free publicity. But when Peter Pascoe's dentist suggests that one film in particular is more than just good clean dirty fun, the inspector begins to make a few discreet inquiries. Before they bear fruit, the dentist has been accused of having sex with an underage patient, the cinema has been wrecked and its elderly owner murdered.

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