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A Cure for All Diseases (2008)

por Reginald Hill

Séries: Dalziel and Pascoe (23)

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5652131,276 (3.75)27
Some say that Andy Dalziel wasn't ready for God, others that God wasn't ready for Dalziel. Either way, despite his recent proximity to a terrorist blast, the Superintendent remains firmly of this world. And, while Death may be the cure for all diseases, Dalziel is happy to settle for a few weeks' care under a tender nurse. Convalescing in Sandytown, a quiet seaside resort devoted to healing, Dalziel befriends Charlotte Heywood, a fellow newcomer and psychologist, who is researching the benefits of alternative therapy. With much in common, the two soon find themselves in league when trouble comes to town. Sandytown's principal landowners have grandiose plans for the resort -- none of which they can agree on. One of them has to go, and when one of them does, in spectacularly gruesome fashion, DCI Peter Pascoe is called in to investigate -- with Dalziel and Charlotte providing unwelcome support.… (mais)
  1. 00
    Sanditon: Jane Austen's Last Novel Completed por Jane Austen (merry10)
    merry10: Reginald Hill makes a homage to Jane Austen, basing the structure of the novel and character names on Sanditon, Jane Austen's unfinished novel.
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Mostrando 1-5 de 21 (seguinte | mostrar todos)
While Superintendent Andy Dalziel is convalescing at a health resort in coastal Sandytown, DCI Peter Pascoe is in charge, and he’s finding that he likes that role quite a bit. When one of the primary movers and shakers in Sandytown is strangled and gruesomely roasted, Pascoe has the opportunity to shine; but Dalziel, starting to feel better, wants to get in on the action too, with potentially disastrous results…. I don’t want to say much about the plot of "A Cure for All Diseases," the 23rd entry in Mr. Hill’s series, but there are at least half a dozen suspects, all of whom have good reason to murder the victim, and each in turn gets a chance to confess, either to Dalziel or to Pascoe. In the end, I missed some of the regular characters who weren’t much in evidence this time around (Ellie, for example, is almost nowhere to be found, and DS Wield is very much in the background here), but enjoyed some of the new characters and was quite surprised at the return of an unexpected one. Probably best to read this series in order, though, to facilitate an understanding of the complicated relationships involved. Recommended. ( )
  thefirstalicat | Dec 26, 2017 |
This was a slow starter and it is part of a series of books. It did get rather good toward the end as the pace picked up. HOWEVER, there were TOO many twists and turns of plot, prompting me to flip frantically back and forth between pages to see which character I had missed at a crucial placement. Turns out that three with the same last name was just too much, it all blurs at that bit. I may read another by this author, but not for a while. I enjoy a slower revelation, rather than everything all thrown in my face on the very last pages. The characters were likable and not too perfect, so as a series, I may visit these people again. ( )
  Michelle_Wendt | Jun 15, 2016 |
A writer who has a long series with the same characters can go several ways with it. Agatha Christie, who supposedly got to despise Poirot, still kept writing the books more or less the same, varying the plots but without much change in Poirot's character. Margaret Maron, for one example, varies her series on Judge Deborah Knott by occasionally having the Judge sent to help out in other districts, but also by tracing changes in Deborah's personal life and character. Reginald Hill, who has been writing Dalziel and Pascoe novels since 1970, has certainly tracked changes in his characters' lives and growth in their personalities, but has also kept himself interested by varying the structure of his novels. Literary references abound, as for example in [b:Arms and the Women|1249956|Arms And The Women (Dalziel & Pascoe, #18)|Reginald Hill|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1329961926s/1249956.jpg|3359651] and [b:Death's Jest-Book|671934|Death's Jest-Book (Dalziel & Pascoe, #20)|Reginald Hill|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1176998588s/671934.jpg|1238701], and most recently in [b:The Price of Butcher's Meat|2911540|The Price Of Butcher's Meat (Dalziel & Pascoe, #23)|Reginald Hill|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1267364174s/2911540.jpg|2938712], which is loosely based on [a:Jane Austen|1265|Jane Austen|http://photo.goodreads.com/authors/1282032472p2/1265.jpg]'s unfinished novel Sanditon.

It took me a long time to read this book, partly because of other activities, but also because it's a long book, about twice the size of the usual mystery. Points of view change throughout the book -- it opens as a modern epistolary novel, or at least we get to read emails from a young woman who is the outsider character; we also "hear" Dalziel's musings into a digital recorder provided to him during his convalescence from the events of [b:Death Comes for the Fat Man|221679|Death Comes For The Fat Man (Dalziel & Pascoe, #22)|Reginald Hill|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1172842722s/221679.jpg|331751], and then there are chapters told in more common third-person omniscient. I didn't feel that it was quite as successful as the earlier books mentioned, but even a not-as-good Reginald Hill is still pretty darn good. If fancies such as this will keep Hill writing Dalziel and Pascoe (as appears to be the case since Wikipedia lists a new book in the series for this year), I'm all for them. ( )
  auntieknickers | Apr 3, 2013 |
After barely surviving a terrorist blast Superintendent Andy Dalziel is convalescing at a swanky private clinic in the seaside resort of Sandytown in Yorkshire. He befriends another young visitor to the town, Charlotte (Charley) Heywood, who is the daughter of an old Rugby mate of Dalziel’s and a psychologist reviewing the benefits of alternative therapies. They are both keen observers of the people and happenings in the town and record their observations: Andy using a digital audio recorder provided by his doctor and Charley via a series of emails to her sister. As with all fairly closed communities there are a couple of prominent families whose lives seem to impact everyone in the town directly or indirectly and the same is true of Sandytown which is the setting for a soon to be opened alternative healing centre. When one of the town’s most prominent citizens is killed in a gruesome way a full police investigation, headed by Dalziel’s old partner Peter Pascoe, gears up but Andy and Charley’s continuing observations play a key role in the solving of the murder.

This is, more than usually, a review specifically of the audio version of A Cure For All Diseases narrated by Jonathan Keeble. Because, regardless of how good the original content is, Keeble added a truly wonderful element that I don’t think could exist in the print version. His portrayal of the two main narrators of the story, ageing male Dalziel and young, somewhat excitable female Charley is truly magnificent and he rounds out the reading with an entire cast of minor players that are equally beautifully depicted. Coming back to my iPod each day became a real treat over the past week or so and I now have a sense of the anticipation people used to get as they ‘gathered round the wireless’ to hear the latest radio play in the days before television.

The format and, to some extent, the content of this story is actually Hill’s homage to Jane Austen but I don’t think it matters all that much if you’re an Austen fan and can recognise what he’s done or not. Far more important is that it provides an interesting, different approach to the standard police procedural. As someone who has lamented the formulaic writing by other well-known authors of late I applaud both the decision to do try something new and the successful execution of that decision. About half of the story is told via the recorded observations of Charley and Dalziel and I thoroughly enjoyed their dual points of view, especially the brave inclusion of a significant narrative voice that wasn’t Dalziel or Pascoe. The rest of the story is told via a more traditional narrative but the two forms are pretty seamlessly integrated.

There’s a strong undertone of humour through this book that I haven’t noticed in the series before (although I’ve not read a large number of them so maybe it has been present). Both Dalziel and Charley’s epistles are full of humour that suits their respective characters: Dalziel’s is coarse and reminiscent of a 1970’s comedian dripping with barely concealed sexual innuendo while Charley’s is full of the biting observations that a modern young woman might share with her friends in an online chat room. I found this added a very natural component to the characterisations and, particularly in the case of Dalziel, provided a layer of credibility to a character that I’ve struggled to believe in previously. He’s still all-seeing, all-knowing Fat Andy that nearly everyone is instantly afraid of, but the humorous monologue provides an insight into what makes him tick and because of it I cringed less and saw him as a more well-rounded character.

The book isn’t the fastest paced story you’ll find, especially where the two narrative voices overlap and recount the same events from their different perspectives, but the relatively slow revelation of events allowed the myriad of characters to be more fully developed than would otherwise have been the case. Rather than being ‘filler’ content of the ‘a book must have 500 pages’ variety this was a highly nuanced building up of a picture of the town and its inhabitants and I was completely captivated. I have to admit the final conclusion bordered on contrived but I forgave this minor lapse in what was otherwise a thoroughly enjoyable read.

Hill is to be congratulated for maintaining interest in his long-running series by trying something innovative with this book. I also admire the fact you don’t need to be a die hard fan of Dalziel and Pascoe to enjoy the book (although I doubt it hurts if you are). If you’re at all keen on audio books I’d highly recommend you relax and let Keeble’s narration spirit you away to Yorkshire for a few hours. ( )
  bsquaredinoz | Mar 31, 2013 |
A Cure for All Diseases (which is death, by the way) is both a clever update of Jane Austen's unfinished novel Sanditon and a classic Dalziel and Pascoe murder mystery. And unlike P.D. James' recent effort, Death Comes to Pemberley, Hill fuses the two genres expertly and both modes work well.

Following on from The Death of Dalziel, the Fat Man is booked into a swanky clinic in the seaside resort of Sandytown (now in Yorkshire, not Austen's original Sussex) to recuperate from his brush with death. To aid his mental recovery, Dalziel starts a diary on tape, recording his observations and personal reflections. This first person narration is countered by the misspelled, ungrammatical, chick lit-esque e-mails of Charlotte 'Charley' Heywood, who is staying with the Parkers in Sandytown. Now, I didn't like Charlotte in 'Another Lady's continuation of Sanditon, and I can't stand her here - everybody loves her, including Dalziel, because she's 'bright' and no doubt feisty, but actually she's little more than a contrived literary device. Making her a psychology student makes sense, though.

Other characters from Austen's original make an appearance, in new forms and relationships, from the larger than life Lady Denham, who holds more than a few residents of Sandytown by the beach balls, to Sir Edward 'Teddy' Denham and 'Sid' Parker, no longer rivals for Charlotte's affection, shall we say. The Hollis family (Lady D's former in-laws) mentioned in passing by Austen are coloured in by Hill, and the doctor that Tom Parker is initially seeking when he overturns his carriage (Land Rover) becomes a faith healer called Gordon Godley. Renaming the Parkers' house 'Kyoto', instead of 'Trafalgar', is possibly one joke too far, however.

Hill sets the scene with Austen's novel for the first three hundred pages, then Lady Denham meets a typically inventive end, and Pascoe and the team arrive in town to investigate. I haven't read (or watched) any Dalziel and Pascoe mysteries in years, but the gruff Yorkshire detective and his rather more refined sidekick are instantly familiar, not to mention all the ridiculous nicknames Dalziel gives his team ('Hat' Bowler and 'Ivor' Novello). Franny Roote, Pascoe's longstanding nemesis, also makes a reappearance in Sandytown, but is he a benign or a sinister presence?

Reginald Hill has created another well plotted puzzler, combined with an inventive take on Austen's novel that is rather more sympathetic to the original than his twist on Emma ('Poor Emma'). I picked up on some of the clues, but failed to connect them and solve the mystery. I also love Hill's Yorkshire turn of phrase, and his vivid use of imagery - 'Lady D chatting away like an elephant dancing in that old Disney cartoon', and Dalziel appearing like 'the effigy of some oriental god paraded to bless the rice crop' are two of my favourites. I must start re-reading my old D+P mysteries again soon! ( )
1 vote AdonisGuilfoyle | Dec 6, 2011 |
Mostrando 1-5 de 21 (seguinte | mostrar todos)
Deploying a leisurely-paced epistolary style and a busy plot stuffed with dodgy inheritances, romantic mismatches and bountiful afternoon teas, Hill pulls off the clever literary jest of projecting Austen’s unfinished novel “Sanditon” into modern times. But stretched out for more than 500 pages, the whimsy wears thin, reminding us that 19th-century novelists never had to contend with the inelegant stuttering of e-mail prose.
adicionada por y2pk | editarNew York Times, Marilyn Stasio (Nov 14, 2008)
 
So, to sum up: mostly brilliant. The matriarchal Daphne Denham is a great character, as are most of them rest of them, but she stands out. Dalziel is on supremely entertaining form, and his convalescent musings are often hilarious. There are times when I was starting to think it was overlong and had better have a darn good end, and indeed it does! The mystery aspects of the plot are perhaps as fine as Hill has ever done. It would be difficult to recommend it unreservedly, because it is definitely the case that some readers will find the emails very hard going. However, you get used to them, and towards the last half of the book they do start petering out. What you're left with is a very fine novel, full of everything we love reading Reginald Hill for, that is well-worth your while persevering with.

 

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Some say that Andy Dalziel wasn't ready for God, others that God wasn't ready for Dalziel. Either way, despite his recent proximity to a terrorist blast, the Superintendent remains firmly of this world. And, while Death may be the cure for all diseases, Dalziel is happy to settle for a few weeks' care under a tender nurse. Convalescing in Sandytown, a quiet seaside resort devoted to healing, Dalziel befriends Charlotte Heywood, a fellow newcomer and psychologist, who is researching the benefits of alternative therapy. With much in common, the two soon find themselves in league when trouble comes to town. Sandytown's principal landowners have grandiose plans for the resort -- none of which they can agree on. One of them has to go, and when one of them does, in spectacularly gruesome fashion, DCI Peter Pascoe is called in to investigate -- with Dalziel and Charlotte providing unwelcome support.

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