Brendan's Reviews > A Clubbable Woman

A Clubbable Woman by Reginald Hill
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's review
Feb 26, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: fiction, mystery, 2011
Read from February 26 to 28, 2011

LibraryThing thought I would enjoy this novel. Meh. It's okay, but there are some problems with it, for sure. The eponymous lady is the murder victim that appears at the beginning of the book (end of the first chapter, I believe). Pascoe and Dalziel, a Laurel-and-Hardy elite-and-brash duo, investigate to see which one of the many rugby-club good ol' boys likely clubbed the manipulative temptress. Some thoughts:

* LibraryThing thought I would like this novel, and I can see why, but it's so rooted in 1970s British male culture that I didn't enjoy it. The mystery is a well-crafted bit of police procedural, but ultimately it didn't sparkle for me.
* Hill takes a variety of narrative viewpoints, a technique that can fail but works okay here. I'm always a little mixed about mysteries where we learn about what people other than the detective are thinking. In this case, you might cry foul as well because Hill leaves out some details that we should by rights have gotten because we were following some characters while those events happened.
* The sexism that was clearly part of the late 1960s throbs through the book, from the frequent discussion of the various womens' bodies to the complaints about how women in the workplace would lead to, gasp, pants. I can't tell how much of this is Hill's style, how much of it is British, and how much of it is my 2011 perspective of 1970. Nonetheless, it doesn't serve the story well and doesn't pay off, for me.

It was a decent mystery, but ultimately the dated nature of the story got in the way for me.

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