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Under World (1988)

de Reginald Hill

Sèrie: Dalziel and Pascoe (10)

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381657,255 (3.74)11
'Hill is an instinctive and complete novelist who is blessed with a spontaneous storytelling gift' Frances Fyfield, Mail on Sunday Years ago, young Tracey Pedley disappeared in the woods around Burrthorpe. The close-knit mining village had its own ideas about what happened, but the police pinned it on a known child-killer who subsequently committed suicide. Now Burrthorpe comes to police attention again. A man's body is discovered down a mine shaft and it's clear he has been murdered. Dalziel and Pascoe's investigation takes them to the heart of a frightened and hostile community. But could the key to the present-day investigation lie in the past when little Tracey vanished into thin air...'… (més)
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Years ago, the mining town of Burrthorpe suffered a loss when a young girl disappeared, and when an injured miner subsequently commits suicide, it is assumed that he was the child killer. His son, now grown up, has never believed this theory and is determined to find proof of his father’s innocence, even if it means searching very dangerous abandoned mines…."Under World" is Reginald Hill’s 10th novel featuring Dalziel and Pascoe, and it’s quite gripping. I found myself especially worried about Pascoe’s marriage in the course of reading this story, to the point where I immediately had to pick up the next book in the series, which I rarely do. Sticking to this entry, the scenes in the mines were especially well done (and scary) and the relationships between the various police officers and townspeople are interesting too; recommended. ( )
  thefirstalicat | Dec 13, 2016 |
I read the first in the series 'A Clubbable Woman' and really disliked both leads. I then read 'Ruling Passion' and it totally turned me around in that both Dalziel and Pascoe were more rounded characters and more sympathetic. 'A Pinch of Snuff' had me back at square one in that I didn't like either of them (and the subject matter even less!!) but I had more on my TBR pile (they were all given to me by a friend) and so have now turned to the next, cronologically, in my possession. I'm so glad I did.

This time around I'm really enjoying the story. Set in a mining village just after the Miners Strike, it evokes the period really well (brought back many memories!): the difficulties of the Miners and their families post strike, the distrust of the Police following all the various incidents that occurred, the awakening of the women to the opportunities they've missed & those that are still available if they can only break free. The characterisation of the various Miners, families, local police are all well done and the humour, of what could be a difficult subject, works really well. So far (about 2/3rds thru), it's all about the main protagonists and the story leading up to 'the murder' so there's been very little including Dalziel and Pascoe specifically, now that they're fully involved, I wonder if I'll find that I dislike them again? Doesn't really matter, the other characters more than make up for them.

Well, I've finished the book now and my opinion hasn't changed. A much better story, nicely written with enough humour to lighten a dark subject. Dalziel and Pascoe are still the same characters, but now there's a 'pinch of salt' in there, plenty of banter to keep the story flowing and to detract from the less pleasant sides of their characters. The story itself gives an interesting insight into the lives in a northern mining community (ok, I suspect, any mining community) and life down the pit - all of which is gone now and yet within living memory.

For some reason, people keep giving me more from this series and now I'm quite pleased! This has been the most enjoyable to date.

(Ooh, wonder when the TV series started - maybe the humour in the book stems from the TV characterisation) ( )
1 vota Cassandra2020 | Jan 24, 2016 |
Usual excellent Reginald Hill mystery - a mining town where everybody knows each others' business and a recent strike has created bitterness and schisms; old crimes that may or may not have been solved; and now a new murder. Ellie Pascoe is there to run a class for miners to better themselves, especially one star pupil, which brings out interesting class differences. ( )
  piemouth | Jul 5, 2014 |
This series goes from strength to strength. Beautifully done. ( )
  Condorena | Apr 2, 2013 |
I really liked this one. It was written in 1988 but doesn't feel particularly dated. It does gloss over technological advances and computers (people still work with paper records, for instance), but it could very well be that these particular jurisdictions, Mid- and South-Yorks, were not yet with the times.

After a suitably sombre poem about going down a mine, the story begins with Pascoe trapped in a mine and Dalziel trying to get him out. A dramatic start for sure. Then the book goes back to the beginning and traces the events of the case. The main community involved is the town of Burrthorpe, where a young girl named Tracey Pedley disappeared and was presumed murdered. At one point Billy Farr, a miner, was suspected of killing her, but then a notorious child killer topped himself and implicitly confessed to the crime in his suicide note. However, suspicions still lingered, even after Billy fell to his death in an abandoned mineshaft. Meanwhile, an ex-copper who worked on the case is publishing his memoirs in the local news rag and he claims to have new revelations in the case. Dalziel and Pascoe get involved from this perspective, while Ellie (Mrs. Pascoe) is teaching a class that includes Billy's son, Colin, and she gets absorbed into the domestic drama.

That's about all I can say without becoming even more complicated or giving things away. I really enjoyed this book. I love Hill's dry-witted narration and his clever turns of phrase. For example:

P. 90: Mrs. Pascoe is going down the mine where the miners she is teaching at the college work.
The Frenchmen, perhaps in reaction against their unconcealed terror during the descent, were now suffering from a bad attack of galanterie, which involved much après-vous-ing and the placing of guiding hands on shoulders, elbows and occasionally an area at the base of the spine which if not an erogenous zone was certainly border country.

P. 145: Pascoe is at the Burrthorpe police station.
Pascoe went in search of the small canteen in the basement. Here he sat and drank a cup of coffee that was so awful in every particular that he bought another just to confirm it was no flash in the pan.

The only thing I don't really like in this story (or that I consider the weakest part) is the domestic family scenes with Pascoe, Ellie and his daughter Rosie. Perhaps that's just me resenting familial intrusions into a police procedural. Ellie would probably think that's kind of sexist or something -- she is very much about women's rights and equal representation and all that. But these parts are still very well written; they're just not as interesting to me as the parts with Dalziel, who can be shockingly hilarious sometimes.

To sum up, if you're a D+P fan, scour the secondhand bookstores for this one. Not sure how readily available it is, but it's really interesting. ( )
  rabbitprincess | Mar 12, 2011 |
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Hear truth: I stood on the steep brink whereunder
Runs down the dolorous chasm of the Pit,
Ringing with infinite groans like gathered thunder.

Deep, dense, and by no faintest glimmer lit
It lay, and though I strained my sight to find
Bottom, not one thing could I see in it.

Down must we go to that dark world and blind.
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"Wunderbare Lage, in die Sie mich mal wieder gebracht haben", sagte Superintendent Andrew Dalziel.
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'Hill is an instinctive and complete novelist who is blessed with a spontaneous storytelling gift' Frances Fyfield, Mail on Sunday Years ago, young Tracey Pedley disappeared in the woods around Burrthorpe. The close-knit mining village had its own ideas about what happened, but the police pinned it on a known child-killer who subsequently committed suicide. Now Burrthorpe comes to police attention again. A man's body is discovered down a mine shaft and it's clear he has been murdered. Dalziel and Pascoe's investigation takes them to the heart of a frightened and hostile community. But could the key to the present-day investigation lie in the past when little Tracey vanished into thin air...'

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