Reginald Hill's best-selling duo, Dalziel and Pascoe, return in this brilliant, complex and ultimately moving crime novel: 'Reginald Hill is probably the best living crime writer in the English-speaking world' -- Independent In T.L. Beddoes' play Death's Jest-Book, the dead won't lie still in the grave and the living often wish they could. And Reginald Hill's novel is much the same -- except perhaps for a few more jests. The dead-pan joker, Franny Roote, is working on his dead friend's unfinished biography of Beddoes, and with unfinished business between himself and DCI Pascoe to deal with as well. Three times Pascoe has been wrong about Roote. This time he's determined to leave no grave-stone unturned as he tries to prove that the ex-con and aspiring academic is mad, bad and dangerous to know. Meanwhile, Edgar Wield, Quixote-like, rides to the rescue of a child in danger, and finds he's got a rent-boy under his wing. In return, the boy tips him off about the heist of a pricesless treasure, and soon Wieldy's torn between protecting the boy and doing his duty. His superiors might have worries, but DC Hat Bowler's looking forward to a blissful New Year with the girl of his dreams.
The trouble is that that girl is Rye Pomona and her dreams are filled with a horror too terrible to tell -- even though Charley Penn throws all his energies into trying to do exactly that. And over all this activity broods the huge form of Mid-Yorkshire CID's First Mover, DS Andy Dalziel. As trouble builds, the Fat Man discovers (as many deities before him) that omniscience can be more trouble than its worth, and that sometimes all omnipotence means is that you can have any colour you like, as long as it's black.
Reginald Hill is a native of Cumbria and a former resident of Yorkshire, the setting for his outstanding crime novels featuring Dalziel and Pascoe, 'the best detective duo on the scene bar none' ('Daily Telegraph').