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Singing the Sadness: A P.I. Joe Sixsmith Mystery Hardcover – September, 1999


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press; 1st St. Martin's Minotaur ed edition (September 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312242387
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312242381
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 5.8 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,541,472 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Hill could not have created a protagonist more different from his gruff, hard-drinking, profane Andy Dalziel than Joe Sixsmith, the hero of his second series of mysteries (Killing the Lawyers, etc.). A PI without the large body and presence of Dalziel, Sixsmith is "five foot five, [with] a sagging waist and social invisibility except maybe in a convention of white supremacists." Sixsmith is black. That does make him a standout figure when he leaves Luton, England, to journey with the Boyling Corner Chapel choir to Wales for the remote and unheralded Llanffugiol Choral Festival. But Joe's usual self-effacement is ruined when he rescues a nude woman from a burning cottage in the countryside. Thrust out of the choral competition by the injuries he receives in the fire, Joe is driven into a far deadlier competition. Who is the woman he rescued, and how did she come to be in the supposedly unoccupied cottage? Joe is hired by the owner of the cottage to find the answers; and he secretly gets a second retainer from the man's wife, who suspects the woman from the fire is her husband's mistress. Joe's adventures and misadventures among the provincial Welsh folk and their more sophisticated police officers and academics are absorbing and dangerous. Sixsmith's fourth outing lacks the brilliant byplay that distinguishes the Dalziel/Pascoe novels, but the characterizations remain sharp. And Hill's swift pacing and keen dialogue make his modest, intelligent hero a winner in this intriguing tale of the seedy side of small-town life. (Sept.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Black private eye Joe Sixsmith rescues an anonymous nude woman from a burning Welsh cottage. The cottage owner then hires Joe to discover her identity. A solid addition to the series.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 28, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Private Investigator Joe Sixsmith looks forward to singing along with his fellow church choir members at a Welsh festival. On the way to Llanffugiol, Joe and his bus mates see a burning summer cottage. Joe rushes inside to save a trapped person. Joe is slightly hurt from his daring do and will miss the competition. However, the individual he rescued suffers much greater injuries. No one local or form the bus knows who she is or why she was in Copa Cottage.
The cottage owners, Fran and Franny Haggard arrive from Islington, denying they know the victim. Fran hires Joe to learn the identity of the injured party. Franny also employs Joe to learn if the victim was her spouse's mistress. As Joe begins his inquiries, he quickly realizes that several other people have vested interests in his investigation way beyond just a natural curiosity. As he digs deeper, he begins to uncover crimes from years ago that someone wants to remain secret, even at the cost of Joe's life.
SINGING THE SADNESS, the fourth Sixsmith who-done-it, is an entertaining mystery that centers on several eccentric characters and the Welsh countryside. The investigation is entertaining and Joe and his cohorts retain the freshness that made the previous tales charming. However, this time around, Reginald Hill shows his talent to scribe an enjoyable mystery that his myriad of fans will gain much pleasure from it. However, it still lacks the bite of the other Sixsmith novels.

Harriet Klausner
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By K. L Sadler VINE VOICE on October 5, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Joe Sixsmith is a new character for me from Hill, though other reviewers say he's written with him before. A thoroughly enjoyable man who manages to get himself involved in other people's problems even if he weren't a PI. Joe has a bit of a heroic death-wish in this book. He keeps plunging into flaming houses to rescue people. In the process, he not only saves two women (one who deserves saving, the other who doesn't) but he opens a rancid can of worms in the form of people. I won't say any more so as not to give the plots away, not one of my favorite topics...but Hill handles it well and with minimal gratuitous violence or other types of behavior.
Hill's ability to use words is always a pleasure to read. Joe is an educated man, with an appreciation (and healthy fear) of his aunt who raised him and for many of the worthy traits she taught him. He is going to sing with his church's choir down at a Welsh exhibition/contest, which falls apart due to the shenanigans of a variety of Welsh characters. It's always interesting to read concerning areas of the world I have no experience in, and Hill inspires a desire to see Wales for the countryside and the people.
Hope to see more of Sixsmith...he's a pleasant fellow.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 11, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I enjoyed this book very much and can't wait to read about Joe's further adventures!
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More About the Author

Reginald Hill has been widely published both in England and the United States. He received Britain's most coveted mystery writers award, the Cartier Diamond Dagger Award, as well as the Golden Dagger for his Dalziel/Pascoe series.

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