Pictures of Perfection: A Dalziel/Pascoe Mystery Mass Market Paperback – 1995
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Top Customer Reviews
Pictures of Perfection is, without a doubt, one of the best ones I've read and it shows the full range and breadth of Mr. Hill's talents. While ostensibly a mystery, there is ample mirth, satire, parody, and guffaws throughout the book. Mr. Hill also has the ability, rare in the field of mystery writers for some reason, to turn a phrase just right and then place it in the mouth of the best character to say that one phrase; as a result, I found myself laughing outright in unexpected moments!
Character development is finely tuned here and, for once, the book allows a fuller sense of Sergeant Wield and for me fills in the piece of how Wield met his partner who is included in later books. In fact, I feel Hill writes as if picturing all this on stage or on the screen. Yes, that's how well timed and placed characters, dialogue, and plot are. (Mr Hill: If you are reading, please release your books to the larger screen! I can't wait to see who's cast as Andy Dalziel!)
Whether this be your first Hill novel or not, you will not be disappointed by this page-turner!
The village of Enscombe has changed only superficially since the days of Jane Austen whose words just happen to introduce each chapter. One of the residents, Caddy Scudamore, is a talented artist given to painting over much of her crowded canvases. This is done, we are told, not so much to obliterate as to "relegate it to a kind of misty otherworld where it still continued to exert its existence."
Hill, too, offers us one thing - a contemporary mystery - beneath which lie all the sense and sensibilities of Austen. Social dynamics and entailments. Misunderstandings and love matches (at least one of which in its '90s incarnation might take even Jane by surprise!) But most of all, insight and humor and a joyous way with words that can make a reader laugh out loud. Austen could do it and so can Reginald Hill.
He leads us into the story through a scenario that we find all too easy to accept and ushers us out again with a reminder that appearances can be deceiving. Jane would have agreed.
This is a Dalziel/Pascoe mystery, with the usual careful plotting and great dialogue. However, this book is above and beyond even Reginald Hill's great usual: there's a bizarre shock in store for the reader. (Who will enjoy it later, very much) It has wickedly funny plotting, some of the most unusual characters, and to my delight an unexpected chance at happiness for poor sweet Sergeant Wield. Wield has suffered through plenty of Dalziel's bossiness and the dismay of "coming out" to his fellow detectives. In this story he meets a man he initially finds very annoying, but as the story develops, we can see the promise of love on the horizon.
~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *
I thought this mystery was wonderful as a kind of "fun" romp with the characters. Hill is showing us he cares very much about them all.
Most recent customer reviews
The usual elements of the mystery genre are all present in this unique opus that you may well remember for a long time. Read morePublished on Jan. 5 2002 by Daniel L Pratt
Filled with humor, irony, and exquisite dialog! One of the best of Hill's series.Published on Jan. 30 2001 by Robert Bennett
"Pictures of Perfection" is a delightful fairy tale of a mystery complete with happily-ever-after ending. Read morePublished on Sept. 16 2000 by Sheila L. Beaumont
The story commences with a terrifying and well-written account of a gunman shooting randomly at people in the village of Enscombe - so much more terrifying because we all know so... Read morePublished on May 20 2000 by Helen
For those of you who prefer the cozy British mystery, like myself, you will be promptly dismayed, perhaps even repulsed, by the first gruesome chapter. Persevere. Read morePublished on March 29 1998
Love it love it love it! This is the best Dalziel and Pascoe - and that's saying a lot.Published on Feb. 3 1998 by email@example.com