Monday, December 25, 2006

Dialogues Of The Dead

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I just finished "Dialogues Of The Dead" by Reginald Hill. It is a very strange British mystery, set in Yorkshire. I figured out who the killer was early in the book, and spent the rest of the time telling myself I was wrong.

Every time the killer offs someone, a "dialogue" describing a murder appears in the mail. It is sent to the local Gazette, because they are running a short-story contest, and they assume it is another entry, so they forward it to the library, where the contest judges are to read them and decide on a winner.

No one realizes that the first victim was murdered, and there was no connection made with the second victim, or the dialogues, until a young policeman starts connecting the dots. It takes him a while to convince his superiors that there is a connection because 1. his superiors seem a bit thick and, 2. they really don't want to admit there's a serial killer around, which makes for more work. As more deaths occur, it becomes apparent that they were murdered, but there is still no evidence that it is anything but a series of random killings.

There are three or four people who could be the killer, so you spend a lot of time saying, "Aha, so that's the one!" But, I kept coming back to the same culprit, and then telling myself it couldn't be.

I found it to be rather slow going, too, because we only think that we and the British speak the same language. I would come across a word and spend a few minutes trying to figure out what it meant.

I don't know if I liked this book or not, frankly. I must have enjoyed it on some level, because I did finish it, but it had a big twist at the end, and I don't usually enjoy that.

I was right about the killer, though.


Ch3ll3 said...

Merry Christmas, Betty! I love the poem in the previous post. :)

Hoping you had a lovely Christmas! All the best for 2007.

From Ch3ll3, B, and the dog. (No greetings from the cat. She knows you're allergic.)

Betty said...

Hi, Chelle3113, yest we did have a nice Christmas. Hope you did, too. Glad you liked the poem.

Peggy said...

As an unofficial translator between Britspeak and Amerispeak, feel free to contact me if you're ever confused.

Annie said...

Greetings Betty. Did you receive that book from Santa?

I've known some people who always seem to hone right in of the culprit - and I've often thought those folks should have been detectives. Perhaps this is a career path for you if you ever decide retirement is too boring.

Not likely, huh?

And, what a treasure we all have in Peggy. Since she announced here she can translate, I'm assuming I can use her too.


Kell said...

It sounds like a great premise for a mystery. I may try that one. After that stack of books I want to read. Or maybe I'll just go ahead and read it while I'm thinking about it! So many books yadda yadda yadda.

Betty said...

Thanks, Peggy, I may take you up on your offer.

Annie: No, I got that book a couple of months ago and just now got around to reading it. For Christmas, I got even more books, in the forms of two, count 'em, two gift certificates from

Tink said...

I hate those kind of books. It's like, "Surely they wouldn't have made it THAT easy to guess." But they did. Where's the talent?

What's next on the reading list? Need some suggestions?

dc said...

Hi, I just added you to my favorites to read. Enjoy your comments. Looks like we are almost neighbors, as I am in SE Mo. I am semi retired, just opened a used book store last July. Lots of time to read now. LOL. I like to tell folks what I am reading too. dc

dc said...

Oops, I said SE Mo. and I ment SW, gee I still think I am blond!!

Betty said...

Tink, I'm reading "Cross", now. Just started it this afternoon. I do love James Patterson's Alex Cross series.

DC: Welcome. I'm enjoying your blog, too. I envy you - a used book store! I've always wanted to own a little book store, but never had the opportunity.

John said...

Cor Blimey Betty, me old luv ! You must spend hours trying to read my blog at times. :-)

Maya's Granny said...

There is a great British/American dictionary called, I believe, British English from A to Zed. I tried to find it on to confirm, but couldn't. Let's see if I remember when I get home this evening -- it sits in my language reference book section beside my computer.
Anyway, it is really good.