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The Wood Beyond (Dalziel and Pascoe Mysteries (Paperback)) Mass Market Paperback – March 10, 1997

4.4 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews
Book 16 of 24 in the Dalziel and Pascoe Series

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

The old trick of splitting a central character into two very different parts and using the tension to create literary sparks has worked for writers as diverse as Rex Stout (Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin) and Patrick O'Brian (Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin). Nobody in the mystery field does it better these days than Hill, whose down-and-dirty Inspector Dalziel (pronounced Dah-eel in the A&E TV series) jigs and jousts wonderfully with his smart, sensitive sidekick Pascoe. Their latest outing is one of the best in the series, with Pascoe digging up some old bones and family secrets from his own past. (Other Dalziel/Pascoe books include Blood Sympathy, Exit Lines, Pictures of Perfection, A Pinch of Snuff, Ruling Passion.) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Chief Inspector Andy Dalziel and Peter Pascoe investigate the discovery of some old bones near a large pharmaceutical research laboratory in Yorkshire. As the case progresses, Pascoe unearths surprising facts about his own grandfather, a World War I soldier.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Series: Dalziel and Pascoe Mysteries (Paperback)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Dell (March 10, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0440218039
  • ISBN-13: 978-0440218036
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.9 x 7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #179,868 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By F. Kelly on August 20, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Reginald Hill brings serious talent to bear on the often-debased mystery genre. His stories never fail to compel the reader's attention and (often) emotion, and in "Fat Andy" Dalziel he has created a monumental (sorry) character. And that's not to downplay Pascoe or Wieldy -- but Dalziel's shadow is a hard one to get out of.
"The Wood Beyond" is a particular favorite of mine. I thought that the WWI and present-day plots were extraordinarily well tied together, not always the case in stories using "time-shift"techniques. It's further proof that Reginald Hill is one of the best writers -- not just mystery writers -- working today.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Hill's police officers are a complicated and entertaining bunch, whose business it is to ask questions. In "The Wood Beyond" they have to think seriously about how many questions to ask. Everyone has skeletons of one sort or another, Pascoe, his relatives, his wife Ellie, DS Dalziel, Sergeant Wield, their chance acquaintances, their lovers, their adversaries, and their government. Professionally, the police are after the truth come what may. Personally, they know the consequences could be uncomfortable. And their professional and personal lives are firmly knotted together, both in the present and in the past. Reginald Hill writes about weighty issues while pursuing more than one intriguing murder mystery. His language follows the characters and the mood, from bawdy to poetic. Above all, beyond the history, philosophy and politics, this is a story about people who live, love and work the best way they know how, and manage to laugh along the way. Japrisot's "A Very Long Engagemen
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If you are already familiar with Reginald Hill's Dalziel and Pascoe series, recommending this one won't be a hard sell. If not, check it out and discover one of the contemporary masters of the crime novel.
This is an ambitious work; Hill clearly intends to transcend the police procedural genre, and includes a parallel story set in the ghastly killing fields of Passchendaele in the Great War that dovetails with the present-day murder case that is the nominal subject of the book. It must be said that the interwoven story of Pascoe's ancestor (who shares his name and is involved with ancestors of suspects in the killing that Pascoe and Dalziel are investigating), strains credulity; it's a literary construct that doesn't really come off.
But who cares? Hill as a writer is otherwise at the top of his game. It's full of witty dialogue (if only people in life -- myself included -- could set off such a string of verbal firecrackers, how much more entertaining our daily round would be!). Dalziel's Yorkshire dialect is a constant source of delight: I hope expressions like "nowt," "tha's," "lass," et al. aren't dying out. And as usual, the characters, especially the detectives and Pascoe's wife Ellie, are drawn in psychological depth.
The novel can be enjoyed as pure entertainment. But, notwithstanding the parallel story's unlikelihood, it offers a window into the ungodly horrors of trench warfare in 1917 and the savagery of military "justice" in the British army of the time.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is one of Hill's better Dalziel and Pascoe novels, marred only by the author's continued insistence on showing off his extensive knowledge of the English language. It may be heresy, but I rather prefer the TV adaptations, which tighten and speed things up a bit while keeping the essence.
Ever wondered why Dalziel's name is pronounced "De-ell"? It's a Scottish surname. At one point in the series we are told he was born and brought up in Yorkshire of Scottish parents (now there's a nature-nurture mix to conjure with - growing up in Scotland I was told that a Yorkshireman was really just a Scotsman with the generosity removed!). In the original Gaelic the name has a character that early typographers though looked like a "z" and rendered it so in print, even though it was not pronounced like that. Other Scottish surnames have undergone a similar fate - Menzies should actually be prounced "Ming-iss" and still is, in Scotland.
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Hill combines great plots with even better characters. I particularly like his books because they make me pay attention-skimming over a paragraph can be a fatal error.
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A combination of a current crime involving animal rights, medical research and death mixed with a shattering indictment of The Great War and Pascoe's discoveries about his ancestors. taut complex current crime story.
the usual chemistry of the gross overbearing Dalziel, his sensitive second in command Pascoe, Edgar Wield, and a rich mix of Yorkshire characters
Ideally you should start with the first D&P (a clubbable woman) and work your way up, but who of us do so? Some acquaintance with the usual cast of characters might help, but it's also a fine stand-alone novel. Hill has gotten better over time but then he started from a high point
The only other author of crime fiction currently writing with whom I'd compare Hill is Ian Rankin
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I had read four or five of the Dalziel and Pascoe novels randomly over the years, but several months ago I took another reviewer's advice and started reading them all in the order in which they were written. (I'm including the ones I'd read before, since there are often connections between a book and its predecessor--sometimes more than one predecessor--that I missed when I read them randomly.)

It's been an interesting and worthwhile experience, but I wasn't particularly moved to write a review until I got to The Wood Beyond (one I had read before but had almost completely forgotten). In reading this one, I discovered something significant in my enjoyment of the series: the less Dalziel and Pascoe figure in a particular novel, the better I like that novel--by a huge margin. That discovery surprised me a lot, so I came here to write about it.

Of the 14 books I've gotten through so far, my two favorites are Deadheads and Pictures of Perfection. In thinking about why I like those two so much, I first thought it was because they have very unconventional endings, which I won't go into here so as not to spoil them for people who haven't read them yet. But when I read The Wood Beyond immediately after finishing Pictures of Perfection (since it was the next novel published), I saw at once what the real difference is: Dalziel and Pascoe hardly appear at all in Pictures, but The Wood is full of them.

The problem for me is that even at their best those two characters are only marginally interesting, and they get to be tedious pretty fast.
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