Friday, January 13, 2012

Reginald Hill Passes Away

This morning’s Guardian newspaper brings the avery sad news that British author Reginald Hill, who created the Yorkshire-based detective team of Andrew Dalziel and Peter Pascoe, died yesterday at age 75. As the paper’s Richard Lea notes:
Hill charted the ups and downs of his two contrasting sleuths in more than 20 novels published over four decades after his debut, A Clubbable Woman (1970), alongside a substantial body of other crime fiction and thrillers. He won the Crime Writers Association’s Golden Dagger in 1990 for Bones and Silence, and the Diamond Dagger for the series as a whole in 1995.

Writer Ian Rankin, who won the Diamond Dagger himself in 2005, paid tribute to Hill’s great good humour, the intelligence of his writing and the generous advice he gave to young authors.

“I didn’t read crime fiction until I was in my 20s,” Rankin said. “Hill was one of the first British writers I read. His plotting was elegant and his characters were larger than life--once you read about Andy Dalziel he’s never forgotten. I daresay there are shadings of him in my Inspector Rebus--they’re both bolshie and maverick and they don’t look after themselves.”
In a note sent our way this morning by Mike Ripley, a longtime UK books critic who writes the monthly “Getting Away with Murder” column for Shots, he explains:
I knew [Hill] had been ill and in and out of hospital for about eight months (with a brain tumour and breast cancer), but [he] didn’t want to make it too public, so relatively few people knew. ...

The eagle-eyed reader of my “Getting Away with Murder” column may have noticed occasional mentions of “Professor Charles Underhill”--a venerable academic who has devoted his life to finding and cataloguing all the jokes in Scandinavian crime fiction (!) Charles Underhill was one of Reg’s pen-names and it was Reg’s suggestion that this totally spurious character “only communicates in Old Norse these days.”

He had a wicked sense of humour and I will miss him, as he was a loyal friend and great supporter of young crime writers--as I was once.
Ripley adds that his own tribute to Hill will appear in The Guardian tomorrow morning, Saturday.

In addition to his Dalziel and Pascoe novels, which inspired a BBC-TV series (1996-2007), Hill penned five books about Joe Sixsmith, a black private investigator in the Bedfordshire town of Luton, and a series of thrillers published under the pseudonym Patrick Ruell.

Our condolences go out to Hill’s family.

READ MORE:Reginald Hill, R.I.P.,” by Martin Edwards (‘Do You Write Under Your Own Name?’); “Reginald Hill” (The Telegraph); “Death of an Icon,” by Rhys Bowen (Rhys’s Pieces); “In Memoriam--Reginald Hill,” by Ayo Onatade (Shots); “Farewell, Reginald Hill,” by Barry Trott (Blogging for a Good Book).


Greg M said...

Truly sad news. His Dalziel & Pascoe novels were always favourites of mine, and Dalziel was a truly inspired character creation.

Joe Barone said...

One of my favorite writers. RIP.

Barbara said...

A very sad loss for the book world. His The Woodcutter was brilliant and introduced me to his other works.

Pauline Rowson said...

Reginald Hill was one of my favourite crime writers. I have all his books including some signed copies and re-read them time and time again. He has been a great inspiration to me in my crime writing and I am honoured to have a hand written letter from him encouraging me in my career. God bless R.I.P. Reginald, you have left a great legacy. My thoughts are with his friends and family.