Get out your dictionary; Fat Andy AND Reginald Hill are back. No more if-Jane-Austen-could-email storylines. No more experimentation with first-person narrative for Andy Dalziel. Just good, solid writing, a plot with the requisite twists, characters with quirks and charm, and a lovely bit of Dalziel v. Pascoe alpha dogginess.
It has been six months since Andy was blown up by a terrorist bomb and put into a coma, and a couple of months since he tried to solve a mystery from his rehab facility (the aforementioned Jane Austen/first-person Andy book). Against doctor's orders, Andy has come back to work as a police inspector in Yorkshire just a wee bit too early. He tires easily and finds himself heading in to work on a Sunday because he's forgotten what day it is. Stubborn is as stubborn does, and Andy is as stubborn as they come. To prove that he still has what it takes, he endeavors to help the fiancée of an old police buddy by finding out if her seven-years-missing husband is still alive. Along the way he and his cohorts bump into a sly and violent criminal and his smooth politician son, a tenacious journalist, and a brother and sister who are killers for hire.
Pascoe has been getting along quite nicely without Andy, thank you very much, and Andy feels the conflict of being proud of Pascoe and irritated with him at the same time. Their relationship must reestablish itself in some form, and Hill takes us through the complexities of that.
This story arc with Dalziel injured, rehabilitated, and finally reinstated has been fascinating.