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Pictures of Perfection (1994)

de Reginald Hill

Sèrie: Dalziel and Pascoe (14)

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High in the Mid-Yorkshire dales stands the pretty village of Enscombe, proud survivor of all that history has thrown at it. But now market forces mass at the gates and the old way of life seems to be changing fast. The Law can do little to stop the ever-growing crimes against tradition, but when a policeman goes missing DCI Pascoe gets worried. Andy Dalziel thinks he's overreacting until the normally phlegmatic Sergeant Wield shows signs of changing his first impressions of village life.Over two eventful days a new pattern emerges, of lust and lying, of family feuds and ancient injuries, of frustrated desires and unbalanced minds. Finally, inevitably, everything comes to a bloody climax at the Squire's Reckoning, when the villagers gather each Lady Day to feast and pay old debts ... and not even the presence of the Mid-Yorkshire CID trio can change the course of history ...… (més)
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» Mira també 25 mencions

Es mostren 1-5 de 14 (següent | mostra-les totes)
This was like reading a very long, tiresome and outlandish episode of Midsomer Murders. The storyline about the older generations and the paintings was very confusing, especially as some of the descendants had the same names. I think I'll have a break from these. ( )
  pgchuis | Aug 1, 2020 |
Enscombe is a lovely village in Yorkshire, where old traditions such as the annual Day of Reckoning, when villagers pay their rents to the local Squire, are still current. But when the local policeman stationed in Enscombe turns up missing, it becomes necessary for Superintendent Dalziel, Chief Inspector Pascoe and Sergeant Wield to explore the lives of the various villagers, some of whom have shocking secrets they want to keep hidden…. I’m really enjoying this series, of which "Pictures of Perfection" is the 14th entry; this one is particularly pleasing because we get to spend a lot more time with Sergeant Wield, who is quite a wonderful character. It is also quite refreshing to see how an incident described in an early chapter turns out in a much later one; be prepared to be surprised! Recommended. ( )
  thefirstalicat | Mar 16, 2017 |
This was one of those books where, as I was reading it, I thought "Argh, I'm going to have to reread this." If you're picking it up in anticipation of a standard police procedural, I would suggest revising expectations. The mystery here is fairly tame by police procedural standards: a policeman has gone missing from the village of Enscombe and his superior officer is demanding immediate action. So Dalziel and Pascoe head down to the village to find out where the policeman could have gone. In the process they uncover a whole host of strange secrets and goings-on in the village. The threads of these secrets and goings-on are so tangled that it requires close attention to untangle them all. Definitely not a book to be reading on the bus. It requires a comfortable chair and a good length of time to dedicate to the task. That being said, the writing is good as usual, and I liked the use of quotes from Jane Austen's letters as epigraphs for each chapter; they were chosen very well. But I'm definitely going to have to read this again sometime. ( )
  rabbitprincess | Dec 17, 2014 |
Note: Review suitable for those who have not yet read the novel (spoilers masked.)

Grim things are afoot in Enscombe. We enter the scene in the midst of the finale, a blood-bath of phenomenal proportions, and then scoot back in time a few days to follow the winding way through a highly unusual Yorkshire village to that most dramatic of events, and beyond. You can't spit without hitting an eccentric and potentially sinister character, and the plot twists are enough to send one truly round the bend, but in such an entertaining way. Reginald Hill's writing is characteristically intelligent, perceptive and, somehow at the same time, enormously amusing.

Dalziel & Pascoe (and Wieldy!) come over somewhat Cold Comfort Farm and quite a bit Wodehouse in this most unusual mystery novel. (Unusual in that nobody dies and, in the end, nobody is charged with a crime of any sort!) Particularly Wodehousian is the beautiful dovetailing of extraneous plot-lines at the end, with a country house garden providing the backdrop for myriad pleasantly odd characters to chime in with their opportune contributions... leading to the nasty pasties getting their just deserts and the good guys strolling, "happily ever after", into the sunset.

A little more Edgar Wield-centric than your average D&P offering, this progresses his personal story very nicely indeed, leaving those of "The Lad" and "The Fat Man" firmly side-lined, and that's not a bad thing. I did feel, however, that there was a lull in proceedings, a bit of a flattish patch, around mid-action, when Wieldy & Pascoe were wandering around having strange encounters and longing for a bit of grub, but it picked up with a vengeance when Dalziel poked his whopping great snout back in the trough, in more ways than one.

Favourite characters are the Lord Emsworth-esque Squire Guillemard of Enscombe (End is come?) Hall and his ever-present "second slip" and, of course, Dalziel, between whom the best one-liners are shared, but each and every character is beautifully delineated and charming in their own way, even the unpleasant ones!

Some choice quotations, most of which emphasise the Wodehouse leanings:

"Wield barked the sound which friends recognized as his way of expressing amusement though others often took it as a sign that the interrupted lycanthropic process suggested by his face was about to be resumed."

"Pascoe declined heavily on to the Chesterfield and wished he hadn't. The leather upholstery seemed to have been moulded by generations of men with more than the usual number of buttocks into something like a relief map of Cumberland."

"The Squire, though giving the general impression of being shorter of marbles than the Parthenon, had no difficulty in taking this in."

"Pascoe closed his eyes and wondered how in a world full of politicians, prelates, insurance salesmen, alternative comedians, and Dalziel, evolution had failed to come up with a closeable ear."

" 'You chaps probably go on courses which tell you how to deal with fellows flaunting their tackle, but I've led a sheltered life.' " ( )
1 vota Vivl | Nov 2, 2014 |
Another classic from Reginald Hill. What would a mystery be without a murder? The local bobby has disappeared from Enscombe and soon our favorite three, Sergeant Wíeld, Pascoe and The Fat Man, are sucked into a maelstrom of deception and fantasy that boggle the mind. Without giving away too much of the plot, which takes places in a “perfect” little town in Yorkshire (fuctata non perfecta is a theme that runs throughout) the result is “Two whole days, and what have we got? Bodies in the morgue, none. Bodies in the cells, none. Policeman resigned, one. Crimes committed, any number. Citizens willing to bring charges, not a single one!”

If you have not indulged yourself in the pleasures of Hill’snovels, I suggest starting with the book of stories,{[b:Asking for the Moon|671903|Asking for the Moon (Dalziel & Pascoe Novel)|Reginald Hill|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1176998388s/671903.jpg|657933]] which explains how The Fat Man and the Pascoe got together, then Pictures of Perfection, which explains how Wield and Digweed wound up in Enscombe. Digweed puts life in Enscombe into perspective. “Enscombe is very much fuctatus rather than perfectus, I’m glad to say. Perfection is unnatural, Sergeant, because it implies the absence of either development or decline. Haven’t you noticed? It’s the political parties and the religions with the clearest notions of the perfect society that cause the most harm? Once admit the notion of human perfectibility, and the end can be made to justify any amount of pain and suffering along the way. Besides, it would put us both out of work. No crime in the perfect society, and no desire to read about the imperfect past either! So here’s to imperfectionl”

But keep that dictionary handy: solecistically, etiolated, fumarolic, hydriotaphic (the adjectival form of hydriotaphia which is a funeral urn), and exophthalmic to name just a few great words. Lots of illusions to Jane Austen, most of which I suspect went completely over my head. This is great stuff. ( )
  ecw0647 | Sep 30, 2013 |
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'How horrible it is to have so many people killed! - And what a blessing one cares for none of them!!
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To the Queen of crime editors, Elizabeth Walter, this work is, with her gracious permission, most affectionately dedicated, by her admiring and grateful friend, The Author. Nullum quod tetgit non ornavit
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High in the Mid-Yorkshire dales stands the pretty village of Enscombe, proud survivor of all that history has thrown at it. But now market forces mass at the gates and the old way of life seems to be changing fast. The Law can do little to stop the ever-growing crimes against tradition, but when a policeman goes missing DCI Pascoe gets worried. Andy Dalziel thinks he's overreacting until the normally phlegmatic Sergeant Wield shows signs of changing his first impressions of village life.Over two eventful days a new pattern emerges, of lust and lying, of family feuds and ancient injuries, of frustrated desires and unbalanced minds. Finally, inevitably, everything comes to a bloody climax at the Squire's Reckoning, when the villagers gather each Lady Day to feast and pay old debts ... and not even the presence of the Mid-Yorkshire CID trio can change the course of history ...

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