From the bestselling author of the Dalziel and Pascoe series, a superb novel of wartime passion, loyalty -- and betrayal / Reginald Hill was voted People's Choice by BCA members in 2005 and is a Diamond and Gold Dagger Award winner / Reginald Hill's Dalziel and Pascoe novels are consistent Top Ten bestsellers / 2005 marks the 60th anniversary of the end of the Second World War and a perfect opportunity to reissue this impressive wartime novel / Competition: Ian Rankin, PD James, Ruth Rendell
Reginald Hill was brought up in Cumbria, and has returned there after many years in Yorkshire. With his first crime novel, A Clubbable Woman, he was hailed as 'the crime novel's best hope' and twenty years on he has more than fulfilled that prophecy.
First published in England in 1987, this novel departs from Hill's usual mystery oeuvre ( Ruling Passion ). With thoughtfulness and insight that call to mind le Carre, Hill reconsiders an aspect of the German occupation of France during WW II that many Frenchmen would prefer to forget--the collaboration. Set primarily in Paris, the novel follows the lives of Jean-Paul and Janine Simonian, he a Jew, she a boulanger 's daughter married against her parents' wishes. Upon his release from a military hospital after France's humiliating defeat in 1940, Jean-Paul joins the Resistance. For her part, Janine worries--about her two children and the husband who has become emotionally so dark and distant. Gunther Mai, an otherwise kindly German officer in the Abwehr , befriends Janine and uses her as a source of information on her husband's activities--a relationship that works well until he falls in love with her. What Hill portrays so successfully is the conflict between social and personal responsibility. Through a wonderful range of secondary characters, he skillfully characterizes the collaborator in his various guises--from the self-serving black marketeer to the loving mother and wife. Best of all, Hill captures the collapse of morality in occupied France. (July)
'Few writers in the genre today have Hill's gifts: formidable intelligence, quick humour, compassion and a prose style that blends elegance and grace' Donna Leon, Sunday Times 'The fertility of Hill's imagination, the range of his power, the sheer quality of his literary style never cease to delight' Val McDermid, Sunday Express 'Probably the best living male crime writer in the English-speaking world' Andrew Taylor, Independent 'Reginald Hill's novels are really dances to the music of time, his heroes and villains interconnecting, their stories entwining' Ian Rankin, Scotland on Sunday 'A genuine master of British crime fiction' Time Out 'One of Britain's most consistently excellent crime novelists' Marcel Berlins, The Times 'Dazzling! Reginald Hill is one of the best crime writers ever' Sunday Telegraph 'An increasingly lyrical and always humorous writer, he is first and foremost an instinctive and complete novelist who is blessed with a spontaneous storytelling gift' Frances Fyfield, Mail on Sunday