The 24th book in the Dalziel and Pascoe. Hill is once again playing entertaining literary games; this time around he’s using the format of timed chapters giving overlapping strands of a story that plays out in just 24 hours, and playing on the musical theme of a fugue, with a book that’s all about what happens as a man emerges from a fugue in the psychiatric sense. You don’t need to understand exactly what he’s doing to enjoy this story, but the techniques add depth to an entertaining police procedural.
The Fat Man has just returned to work after being nearly killed in a bomb blast two books back, but he’s still not fully recovered, and the world has moved on in his absence. Thus when he gets a call for help, he’s inclined to treat it as personal hobby rather than official case until he’s sure what he’s dealing with. But the case all too quickly snowballs, as a racketeer-turned-respectable sends in a team to ensure that the dead past stays dead.
There’s ongoing development of the continuing characters, some beautifully drawn new characters, a lot of (often very dark) humour, and a brilliant twist at the very end. Not quite my favourite of the series (that’s still Dialogues of the Dead/Death’s Jestbook), but well up there.