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Child's Play (Dalziel & Pascoe, #9)
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Child's Play

(Dalziel & Pascoe #9)

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  1,075 ratings  ·  50 reviews
Geraldine Lomas's son went missing in Italy during World War Two, but the eccentric old lady never accepted his death.

Now she is dead, leaving the Lomas beer fortune to be divided between an animal rights organization, a fascist front and a services benevolent fund. As disgruntled relatives gather by the gravside, the funeral is interrupted by a middle-aged man in an
Paperback, 453 pages
Published June 8th 1988 by HarperCollinsPublishers (first published June 1st 1986)
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Average rating 4.05  · 
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 ·  1,075 ratings  ·  50 reviews

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May 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
How refreshing! A straight up police procedural. No mafia, no spies, no women chopped up, no long passages where we get to hear the serial killer's thoughts. It's almost quaint. I'm not a fan of anything too cozy--mysteries solved by caterers give me hives--but I weary of the overly modern novel which has to prove itself by the most gratuitous means possible.
Reginald Hill's later novels are certainly guilty of literary lily-gilding. One Hill book features long passages from Ellie Pascoe's
Sep 06, 2018 rated it liked it
This was a good one, if not very memorable. But an enjoyable read. Loose ends all tied up in the end, authentic nineteen-eighties feel.
I never know if I want to continue with this series. A colleague gave me all 20-odd volumes ... but after 9 of them I still don't feel the connection I have to my other crime solver friends like Rankin's Rebus or Viveca Sten's Thomas Andreasson or (most of all) Precious Ramotswe of Botswana. Perhaps one more?
Cleopatra  Pullen
Child’s Play was published in 1986 and manages to be both an appealing police procedural with a hefty nod to the whys as well as the who in the course of the investigation.

Mrs Gwendoline Huby has died and when her will is read by the local solicitor (I do miss these formal will readings in more modern fiction) it turns out that those who were expecting the proceeds are to be sorely disappointed. First in line to the funds is her son, Alexander Huby, presumed dead in Italy courtesy of WWII.
Kelly Herold
Jun 22, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: adultfiction
For a good comfort mystery read, you can't beat Reginald Hill. Child's Play is one of my favorites: Wield comes out of the closet, crazy inheritance schemes are afoot, Dalziel is his charming Fat Man self.
Dec 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
Hill could really write, and this series is fun. Effective humor keeps the plot going, and Dalziel is as always memorable. There are quite a lot of characters and it was not always easy to remember who was who. Lexie Huby (I assume she appears in this book only) is also one of a kind.

I did get a bit annoyed with excessive plot twists in the end. This book actually ends several times, with a fast series of unexpected explanations and revelations in the last few pages. Hill ties up just about
Feb 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Very complex plot which not only keeps the reader guessing but adds on twist after twist right to the end.
One of Hill's best Dalziel and Pascoe stories, full of wit and humour and some of his more curious characters.
Jul 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is not a review – just a funny thought. This book gave me one of those odd coincidences that folks who read a LOT get sometimes. The ones where an interesting and unfamiliar word occurs in three different books in one week. I had that happen with ‘susurration’, I remember. I also found the phrase “1066 Country” in successive books – one of which was not even about England! This time it was the Phillip Larkin poem “This Be The Verse” that starts “They f*ck you up, your mum and dad”. It was ...more
Oct 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobooks
Oh Fat Andy, sometimes I think you're my hero. At the very least you have to respect that this detective superintendent can be both an asshole and a good man. Hill is a brilliant long-game plotter. Along with fleshing (hah!) out Dalziel's larger than life character, he lets Pascoe wallow in self doubt and drop the ball on the cases in this book, bringing real life to an ambitious but not so young anymore detective. And, every penny Hill invests in Sgt. Wield is worth 100 fold in overall quality ...more
Lana Kamennof-sine
May 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
One of those books in a series that would have been good to read early on, in this case in 1988 when first published, as it sets the stage for the major characters & their inter-relationships. A fascinating read nonetheless & one which allows you to reassess the other titles in light of your new knowledge.
Amanda Wells
Mar 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
I got my wish - more of Sgt. Wield! No spoilers - just that I was quite happy with how it played out.

Wieldy aside, the plot of this one was unexpected, and could have easily plunged over into the campy convoluted mess that some mysteries err into. But grounded as these books are in Dalziel and Pascoe's decidedly 'not camp' natures, that didn't happen.
Nov 15, 2017 rated it liked it
Reg Hill was a clever writer as this Byzantine mystery bears out. The book offers a turning point for Wield who finally comes out . The problem is that there is too little of the main characters and far too much of the walk ons.
Jan 09, 2019 rated it liked it
An easy read without the modern penchant for car chases. Good character description.
Awarded 3* as the first book I have rated so it sets a benchmark.
But this is not a story where you can pick up the clues yourself and then guess the guilty..and a surprise twist in the ending
May 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Another great read by Reginald Hill, love the Dalziel and Pascoe series.
Dec 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A favorite.

I shall always treasure this book for "mutual dorsal confrication." This series is my all-time favorite, which I re-read every couple of years, and it only gets better.
Nicky Warwick
Jul 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoy Reginald Hill's books. His Dalziel & Pascoe novels are always a treat to read.
It doesn't matter what your favourite genre is I'm certain everyone would enjoy reading them
Nov 04, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library-book, 2012
An old lady dies and the contents of her will leave the vast majority of her fortune to her son, but he has been missing since the end of WWII and everybody else thinks he is dead. During the funeral a stranger turns up claiming to be the long lost son. A few days later this stranger is found dead. Was he the missing heir or was he an imposter? Along side this main story are several minor ones that interweave and support the plot. There is a young boy searching for his father, and a policeman ...more
Alison C
Nov 30, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An old lady dies in the mid-1980s, family members mourn but then are surprised that her will leaves all her money to her son, who’s been missing in action since 1944 with no body ever found; and her fortune is some 1.5 Million Pounds. There are several family factions vying for the proceeds, not to mention the fact that the woman has split her fortunes among a pet refuge, a war child’s agency and a fascist women’s organization - to be received if her son has not come forward by 2015, when he’d ...more
Diana Sandberg
Jun 21, 2009 rated it liked it
Cozier than I thought it would be. It’s from the 80s; maybe the trend for really gruesome stuff didn’t take hold until a bit later. Lots to like in this, I enjoyed the characters a lot, and aspects of the plot, but it was absurdly complicated, several plotlines and all tied up neatly at the end like something out of Dickens. Not his fault, but it was also a little bit of a head-shake for me because it was all about the death of a loopy old lady in an English village, inheritances and parentage ...more
Rog Harrison
Dec 05, 2008 rated it really liked it
Apparently I last read this on 24 November 1990 but I must have read it at least once before then as it was published in 1986 and back then I was reading the books in this series as soon as they came out. This novel explores the character of Detective Sergeant Wield who now starts to take a more important role in this series. It's an interesting plot with some laugh out loud sequences which also manages some observations on homophobia and racism. Although only playing a minor role in this story ...more
Jun 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: crime-thriller
I enjoyed this book but I didn't think it measured up to the other books in the series. It felt a bit rambling in places and it took me a bit longer to get in to the story. As always there were some great characters and the plot was good but I felt there were too many red herrings and as a result the plot was a bit slow moving in places. This book deals with subjects such as homosexuality and sexism and it sometimes felt a bit more political than previous books which is not necessarily a bad ...more
Feb 13, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Andy Dalziel and Peter Pascoe work for Mid-Yorkshire CID. This book is an outstanding entry in the series featuring them. A mother searches for her long-lost son, supposedly dead in WWII. A son searches for his long-lost father, who also is dead from an unreported accidental murder. The two mysteries collide during the execution of a convoluted will.
Great characterizations, especially of Sgt. Wield. A wonderful read.
Colin Mitchell
Dec 16, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime
The standard has increased since the first Dalzeil and Pascoe novels and this one flows along quickly and although there are several twists the plot keeps you going until the end. Sexual issues for the Denton force are uncovered and DCC Whatmough is interviewed for the post of Chief Constable. Shooting, bodies, fraud and deception, what more can you want.
I really enjoy Felony and Mayhem editions and this book in the Dalziel and Pascoe series is like most of Reginal Hill's books, a wonderful read. I want to hop on line and get more. There are no more in the F & M and so I have to resort to other kinds of books. Hill is enticing enough to put up with the aggravation of a mass market, or used library copy.
This was so brilliant. Loved it. I'm so totally in love with Wieldy, Peter, and yes, even the Fat Man. Wield really shines in this one as he finally (view spoiler). Dalziel, gruff and rather vulgar, turns out to be a sweet paragon of progressive values. Lots of poetic justice in this one to balance out the tragedy of lost fathers and lost sons.
Jan 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Once again, the author has crafted a truly surprise ending to his story. Although complex, the plot is not too lacking in credibility. There are multiple murders, but you won't be able to guess the culprits. The dialogue is all very realistic. This is a good read, and I recommend it to those who appreciate a good detective police procedure mystery.
Jan 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
He's finally out. Hope his tension level drops off, and his CID mates don't give him TOO much of a hard time. Gotta have some, though, since we'll always need an alternate source of friction within the setting of the upcoming stories. (Wieldy? Where'd that come from?)
Well-done story, an abundance of twists, with a slightly perverse wrapping-up.
Jul 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
More entertaining Dalziel & Pascoe from the master. On reading the first line I knew I'd read it before but obviously too long ago to mar this re-read (it was written in 1985). Cleverly put together and with Hill's trademark northern humour.
Shannon Teper
Feb 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: british-mystery
This book had a great plot with twists, turns, and surprises. Its likable and realistic characters deal believably with deeper themes interwoven in the story. The Warner Books edition I read was filled with typos, so I would recommend choosing another edition.
Jul 23, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not bad at all. I did get a little confused over the relationship of the three members of the police force. I think it would take awhile for them to grow on one. But the plotting was well done, the murders were not easily solved, and the final mystery was a nice touch.
Jan 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Reginald Hill never let you down. Wonderful plot. Brilliant read.
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Reginald Charles Hill is a contemporary English crime writer, and the winner in 1995 of the Crime Writers' Association Cartier Diamond Dagger for Lifetime Achievement.

After National Service (1955-57) and studying English at St Catherine's College, Oxford University (1957-60) he worked as a teacher for many years, rising to Senior Lecturer at Doncaster College of Education. In 1980 he retired from

Other books in the series

Dalziel & Pascoe (1 - 10 of 24 books)
  • A Clubbable Woman (Dalziel & Pascoe, #1)
  • An Advancement of Learning (Dalziel & Pascoe, #2)
  • Ruling Passion (Dalziel & Pascoe, #3)
  • An April Shroud (Dalziel & Pascoe, #4)
  • A Pinch of Snuff (Dalziel & Pascoe, #5)
  • A Killing Kindness (Dalziel & Pascoe, #6)
  • Deadheads (Dalziel & Pascoe, #7)
  • Exit Lines (Dalziel & Pascoe, #8)
  • Under World (Dalziel & Pascoe, #10)
  • Bones and Silence (Dalziel & Pascoe, #11)