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There Are No Ghosts in the Soviet Union: A Novella and Five Stories Hardcover – December, 1988


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Hardcover, December, 1988
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--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

With gleeful malice aforethought, Hill explodes the genre of the short murder tale and diverts it to his own wicked, original ends. These six stories by the creator of mysteries featuring Detective Dalziel and Sergeant Pascoe ( An Advancement of Learning ), are a rare pleasure, probing murder and mayhem with keen intellect and wit. In the title tale, witnesses to a seemingly paranormal event on an office elevator become prime suspects who cringe before a Soviet police inspector bent on explaining away the incident. "Bring Back the Cat!" parodies detective fiction as it introduces Joe Sixsmith, a sly West Indian PI who investigates a stray feline's disappearance. Murder is almost an afterthought in "Poor Emma," a delicious send-up of Jane Austen's style and upper-class milieu, and in "Auteur Theory," which spotlights the incestuous world of actors at each other's throats during a film shooting. There's no murder in "The Bull Ring," set in a WW I French training camp where a soldier's freak death draws together an English recruit and the corporal who torments him. Hill also writes espionage tales under the name Patrick Ruell.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

Recent acclaim for Reginald Hill: 'Hill at his best is a masterly storyteller!addictive and brilliant.' Spectator 'Hill is unputdownable.' Daily Express 'Hill is always clever and funny! he demands intense concentration -- because he's worth it.' Literary Review 'Hill is a masterful writer, quirky and intelligent.' The Times 'Exhilarating! if this is what results when Hill enjoys a holiday from the norm, he should take a break from his Yorkshire double act more often.' Sunday Times 'You're enthralled by the cunning of the plotting! great.' Observer 'Brilliant, witty and erudite'. Evening Standard 'The fertility of Hill's imagination, the range of his power, the sheer quality of his literary style never cease to delight.' Sunday Express 'Few writers in the genre today have Hill's gifts: formidable intelligence, quick humour, compassion and a prose style that blends elegance and grace.' Donna Leon --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 230 pages
  • Publisher: Countryman Pr; 1 edition (December 1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0881501190
  • ISBN-13: 978-0881501193
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.8 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,108,917 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Dai-keag-ity on January 4, 2006
Format: Paperback
I'm glad I had this introduction to this excellent storyteller. The title piece, Reginald Hill's depiction of life and criminology (and the paranormal) in the USSR, was excellently composed, as were all the other tales in this collection. I was particularly impressed with his story about the harsh basic training instructor who was preparing troops for the impending Somme campaign of World War One (to this day the bloodiest battle in history, 60,000 British troops died in the first few hours of the assaults). The seemingly cruel little corporal is revealed at the end as a being of far greater compassion than his resentful (and most likely doomed) platoon ever realizes. And the send-up of Jane Austen was first-class satire cloaked in the garb of a murder mystery. The death of the odious villain in this wide-open whodunnit is probably singular in all of literature. Reginald Hill knew what he was doing when he composed this anthology. He knew how to write and he knew how to tell the kind of story that keeps a reader rapt.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Blue in Washington TOP 1000 REVIEWER on March 16, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This anthology ranges from the early 1800s to the present in time and from Jane Austen to Stalinist Moscow in content. It's an unlikely mashup of stories, but most of them work well in their story lines, highly original characters and feel for context. There is a particularly clever sequel to Austen's "Emma" that ends the collection that sets that classic romance on its head. A paranormal mystery set in the USSR of the 1950s is a deftly done, out-of-genre turn for author Reg Hill, who only occasionally strayed into sci-fi.

The only story that I found out-of-step with the rest in tone and flow was a pastiche cobbled together from a separately published (and excellent) Pascoe and Dalziel novel and a completely unrelated story that didn't connect effectively with the former (for me, at least).

If you are a Reg Hill fan and still missing his work (as I am), you'll find "There are no..." a good fix and reminder of what a fine writer he was.
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