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Singing the Sadness [Hardcover]

Reginald Hill

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Book Description

March 11 1999
'Few writers in the genre today have Hill's gifts: formidable intelligence, quick humour, compassion and a prose style that blends elegance and grace' Sunday Times Joe Sixsmith is going west. But only as far as Wales where they keep a welcome in the hillside and the Boyling Corner Choir has been invited to the Llanfugiol Choral Festival. Trouble is, no one seems to have heard of Llanfugiol. And instead of a welcome, all they find on the hillside is a burning house with a mysterious woman trapped inside. Add to this in rapid succession an aggressively suspicious policeman, a patronizing headmaster, a drug-dealing student, a gang of disaffected locals bent on sabotaging the festival, and a caretaker's daughter who seems ready to go to extraordinary lengths to take care of Joe, and what we have is the kind of criminous confusion which the famous Sixsmith detective technique soon turns to utter chaos. But Joe is no quitter. Doggedly, aided by little more than that instinct for truth which is his unique talent, he moves forward over the spae of a single weekend to uncover crimes which have been buried for years. Written with all its predecessors' humour and verve, Singing the Sadness takes Joe Sixsmith into a new dimension where morality is blurred and even the light of truth is only a very faint glimmer on a very dark hillside.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Canada / Trade; British First edition (March 11 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0002326086
  • ISBN-13: 978-0002326087
  • Product Dimensions: 23.2 x 15.4 x 3.2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 522 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,198,882 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


'Hill is an instinctive and complete novelist who is blessed with a spontaneous storytelling gift' Frances Fyfield, Mail on Sunday 'Reginald Hill stands head and shoulders above any other writer of homebred crime fiction' Observer 'Their double act [Dalziel and Pascoe's] is one of the delights of English crime fiction' The Times 'So far out in front that he need not bother looking over his shoulder' Sunday Telegraph

About the Author

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 promise.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fully entertaining and satisfyhing mystery. Jan. 22 2001
By Midwest Book Review - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Private investigator Joe Sixsmith is in the Welsh town of Llanffugiol to take part of a church choir festival in Reginald Hill's Singing The Sadness. When a local cottage catches fire, Joe rushes in to rescue a young woman. Hailed as a hero, Joe considers the unanswered questions of how the fire started and the mysterious woman's identity. No less than three different people hire Joe to discover the answer to that questions -- but the answer could shatter this small Welsh village. Singing The Sadness is a superbly written, carefully constructed mystery that will fully entertain and satisfy fans of the mystery genre.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very well written, entertaining, but... May 24 2001
By Carol Mangis - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Reginald Hill is a superb writer with an original, witty, poetic style that grows on you in a big way. I've enjoyed everything I've read by him, which till this book has been just the Dalziel/Pascoe mysteries. I'm happy that Hill has a new character, Joe Sixsmith, who's charming and likeable. But unfortunately, the slight whiff of a possibility of a stereotype kept me from total enjoyment. As a black character, does Joe have to be such a happy-go-lucky, act- and speak-before-you-think kind of guy? I hope I'm wrong and that I'm just being overly PC. At any rate, I'm looking forward to more from this writer.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not as good as D&P, but still enjoyable. March 7 2002
By RachelWalker - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Joe Sixsmith novels aren't quite as good as his Dalziel and Pascoe ones, but they are still very enjoyable.
There are much more overtly humorous than his other series, and at times that is refreshing. they are nice light reads. They don't take themselves very seriously. sometimes, this is great, but sometimes it doesn't work so well...
the plots are nicely complex and Joe is a really likeable character. I would reccomend them, but peppered with Dazliel And Pascoe.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars sharply funny without trivialising the crime May 18 2006
By Jules Jones - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is the fourth of the novels about Joe Sixsmith, a redundant lathe operator turned private eye from Luton. The chapel choir that Joe sings in is on its way to Wales for a choral festival. Things get off to a fine start when the bus first gets lost on the way, and then breaks down in the middle of nowhere.The last incident to mar the journey is a good deal more serious, as they come across a burning cottage with a woman trapped inside. Joe goes to the rescue, saving the woman but putting himself in hospital for a few hours, and putting himself out of the choral competition with the tenporary throat damage from smoke inhalation. That leaves him with plenty of time to investigate the fire, which at first glance looks like an anti-English arson attack that went further than intended. But his digging gradually turns up evidence of other crimes, some petty and others very serious indeed.

As always with Reginald Hill's novels, this book is both a gripping mystery and a beautifully written piece of prose. Joe is an entertaining character, and the book is very funny without ever trivialising the crime that lies at the heart of the case. The cast of characters is well developed, and there's a nice exploration of the way middle and upper-class criminals can cover their tracks by exploiting the willingness of others to do a little favour for a friend.

Hill's series books build a continuing universe, with his characters developing as a results of events in previous books, and later books often refer back to early books in the series. This one is no exception, but there's enough backstory worked in that you don't need to have read the earlier books in the series first--at the time of writing this is the only Sixsmith novel I've read, and I had no trouble following the references to the backstory.
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Feb. 4 2013
By Camilla - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
As always RH is a wonderfull story teller. Never short changes or lets one down in story or the thrills.

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