REGINALD HILL – Midnight Fugue. HarperCollins, US, hardcover, October 2009. British edition: HarperCollins, hc, 2009.

REGINALD HILL Midnight Fugue

   Supt. Andy Dalziel has just spent his first week on the job since recovering from injuries he received in Death Comes for the Fat Man. He heads out one Sunday morning, thinking it was Monday, as his telephone was ringing, and winds up in Church where he is approached by Gina Wolfe, who was following him. Unbeknownst to them both, she was being followed by the sister and brother team of Fleur and Vince Delay.

   Gina has come to Yorkshire to ask Andy about her husband Alex, an Inspector at the Met who disappeared almost seven years ago. This was shortly after their daughter had died from leukemia and while he was under suspicion of having relayed information to a black man under investigation named Goldie Gidman. Gidman’s son Dean is now a Tory Member of Parliament and a rising young star of the party (a British Obama since his mother is white) expecting to one day be Prime Minister.

   Now Gina is about to have her husband declared legally dead when she receives a photo in the mail showing Alex in a crowd of onlookers during a visit to Yorkshire by a minor Royal. Gina wants Andy’s unofficial help in finding out if Alex is still alive, while the Delays, in the employ of Goldie Gidman, are also after Alex to silence him permanently.

   It’s always a pleasure to read another Dalziel and Pascoe novel by Mr. Hill, my favorite living crime novelist. Outstanding characterization and clever plotting are in abundance here, and he out-does 24 in that all the action takes place in 18 hours of the same day. Here is also a wonderful ending with Andy restored, in the eyes of his subordinates, back at the top of the Yorkshire Police, and a surprising coda that supplies the justice the law can’t provide.

Previously reviewed on this blog:

   Ruling Passion (by Steve Lewis)