I’ve been doing quite well with reading books for my 10 Books of Summer Challenge – but not so well at writing reviews of them.
So here is a quick review of the first of my 10 Books. It’s also one of my TBRs, a book I’ve owned for a couple of years:
I loved On Beulah Height is Reginald Hill’s 17th Dalziel and Pascoe novel. He wrote 25 in this series and although it would probably make sense to get a picture of their development I’ve been reading them out of order. It doesn’t seem to matter much, but in this one there are a few references to something that had happened in an earlier case (told in The Wood Beyond) that had affected Pascoe personally. It had filled him with anger and it is still affecting him, whilst investigating this case. But this book can easily be read as a standalone novel.
It is not just a crime fiction novel, it is also a book that raises many issues about parenthood, the relationship between families and their children and the devastation and anguish of parents and a community at the loss of a child.
I’d really like to re-read it some time as it is a complex book, that begins with a transcript written by Betsy Allgood, then aged seven, telling what had happened in the little village of Dendale in Yorkshire before the valley was flooded to provide a reservoir. That summer three little girls had gone missing. No bodies were ever found, and the best suspect, a strange lad named Benny Lightfoot, was held for a time, then released. Benny then disappeared from the area
Fifteen years later another little girl, Lorraine, also aged seven went out for a walk one morning with her dog before her parents got up and didn’t return home, reviving memories of the missing children from fifteen years earlier. It was a case that has haunted Dalziel – and the fears increase when a message appeared, sprayed on the walls: BENNY’S BACK. It’s been a hot, dry summer and the buildings beneath the reservoir are gradually becoming visible and tensions are rising as memories of the missing children increase the fears for Lorraine’s safety.
This book is tightly plotted with many twists that made me change my mind so many times I gave up trying to work out who the murderer was and just read for the pleasure of reading. Hill’s descriptive writing is rich and full of imagery. The main characters are fully rounded people and the supporting cast are believable personalities, often described with wry humour.
- Paperback: 528 pages
- Publisher: HarperCollins (30 Jan. 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0007313179
- ISBN-13: 978-0007313174
- Source: I bought the book
- My rating: 5*