Friday, 28 December 2012

A Killing Kindness by Reginald Hill

Crime stories could be stark and grim, especially one where young women are strangled and a serial killer is at work. I like my crime stories with a dose of humour. It is to sample Dalziel's humour that I picked this book and I am not disappointed.

In this book set in Yorkshire, young women are strangled and murdered. The bodies are neatly laid out by the murderer. These murders do not look like sex crimes. There does not seem to be much similarity between the women. What is the connecting link between these women? How is the Choker selecting his victims? Is he killing the women out of kindness?

When the story starts with a Seance, and a caller calls up a newspaper with Shakespeare quotes after each murder, we do know this is not a run of the mill murder of passion and money. Mix in a Psychologist and two Linguists who never agree on anything to help with the investigation and Dalziel who puts clairvoyant, psychologist and the linguist in the same bracket and believes all this is nonsense. And then we have a woman who believes her estranged husband with a midlife crisis is the strangler, the Choker. All this combined together makes interesting reading.

This is a prefect police procedure where various police personnel work out various portions of the mystery. Though Dalziel gets a lucky break, more than Dalziel it is Wield's and Poscoe's case. It is interesting how a boss(Dalziel) affects his subordinates and how his nature rubs into them. I did guess who the killer is, but not the reason. What act of kindness the killer is performing is quite beyond my comprehension! Yep somebody is killing off women out of kindness.

Published in 1980, A Killing Kindness is the sixth book in the Dalziel and Poscoe series. This is the first book I read by Reginald Hill and I will be reading more.

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