A Clubbable Woman: Dalziel and Pascoe, Book 1 Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
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Audible Audiobook, Unabridged
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This is the first novel in the Dalziel and Pascoe series, which was made into a hugely popular BBC TV serial. Two unorthodox police officers are called to investigate dodgy dealings at Wetherton rugby club after the body of their star player's wife is found dead at home.
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|Listening Length||7 hours and 52 minutes|
|Audible.com Release Date||September 13, 2012|
|Best Sellers Rank|| #72,310 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
#1,162 in Sports Fiction (Books)
#1,605 in Police Procedural Mysteries
#1,700 in Crime Thrillers (Audible Books & Originals)
Top reviews from the United States
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Rugby looms big in the plot. A lot of scenes transpire at the rugby club, where some of the rugby guys have attractive, wayward wives. Mary Conner, the murder victim, was once one of those wives, but she doesn’t go to the club anymore. She can cause enough trouble from home. Did Conner kill her? Was his injury an act?
Superintendent Dalziel can’t quite believe that a great player like Conner would kill his wife so brutally. Conner has brains and strategy. He would be more subtle. The investigation is absorbing, because Mary was up to some bizarre shenanigans. She was definitely a clubbable woman.
I read this series years ago, long enough to decide to re-read it. It was a pleasure to rediscover fat crass Dalziel and his handsome educated sidekick Sergeant Pascoe. A Clubbable Woman was first published in 1970 — a different world. No lattes — everyone is drinking instant coffee! I look forward to dipping into this series again.
The plot line was intriguing, holding interest and offering surprises, although at times the dialogue, particularly the interactions at the rugby club, felt tedious without a positive impact on the storyline.
I plan to try the second novel in the series so I can see how the duo develops as a team as well as individual characters because in the first novel character development was limited.
Top reviews from other countries
I really enjoyed this book … the pace, the people, the believability of it all. It’s set in the most commonplace of settings, with a host of ‘normal’ people, the type to be found in any small community, yet the prospect of one of them being a murderer seems real enough. The banter between the characters and the narrative describing the setting and their actions makes this an easy read. There were times when I found myself a little lost in the dialogue, sometimes confused as to who was speaking, or usually, who was thinking, as the focus moves from character to character, but it didn’t affect my overall enjoyment and certainly wouldn’t put me off reading another by this author.
This is the first book in the long-running Dalziel and Pascoe series – my favourite crime series of all time. I originally started, as so often, in the middle of the series and then backtracked to the earlier books. And I'm rather glad I did, because although this one is a good, solid police procedural it's nowhere near the standard that Hill reached as the series evolved. Both Andy Dalziel and Pete Pascoe have some of the attributes that make them such a memorable pairing, but they're not yet fully developed. Andy is as brash and uncouth as he will always be, without yet the depth of characterisation that reveals the intelligence, subtlety and loyalty to his junior colleagues that is seen in later books. Pete, still single, spends much of his time having a rather annoying internal monologue, partly about the attractions of the various women he meets in the course of the investigation, and partly about his resentment and reluctant admiration for his boorish boss.
The plotting is very good as, of course, is the writing. First published in 1970, the book shows its age in Hill's depiction of most of the women as sexual temptresses – surprising for someone who went on to write one of the most intriguingly feminist characters in crime fiction in Elly, Pete's future wife. I guess that as a debut writer, Hill may have been trying to conform to what was then the norm, whereas he soon became a leader in the field, showing the way in including strong female and even empathetic gay characters long before the trailing pack would have dared. However, Connon's daughter Jenny feels almost like an embryonic Elly, giving a hint of his later style in depicting women as intelligent, witty and, above all, equal to his male characters. Jenny's boyfriend, Anthony, is the first example of another 'type' that appears regularly throughout the series in different personas – decidedly straight men but with slightly effeminate traits, intellectual and rather urbane, with a love of words. I have always wondered how much these characters might have been autobiographical.
The plot is interesting and quite traditional in format – all of the action centres around the rugby club so there is a defined list of suspects all with various motives. Andy, as a leading figure both in the club and in Mid Yorks life, knows everybody and this gives him access to 'inside information'. Pete worries that Andy is too close to the people involved and doesn't yet know him well enough to be sure that he won't let his actions and opinions be swayed by friendship. But true to his later characterisation, Andy believes in justice above all, though he might step outside the bounds occasionally to achieve it. And the solution when it comes gives hints of the complex morality of the criminals Hill will introduce us to in future years.
To be honest, if I were reading this for the first time with no knowledge of the series, I'd probably be saying it's a promising debut, better written than most but fairly standard otherwise. And I might or might not have gone on to read the next one. So when I highly recommend it, as I am doing, it's as the first step in what becomes something exceptional further down the line. A series to be read in its entirety, and though not essential to read them in order, best read that way to see how all three of them - Dalziel and Pascoe, and Hill himself - develop as the years go by.
The murder victim is the wife of one of the local rugby team's main players and the whole team is suspect in some way or another.
The senior detective investigating the crime is Dalziel, a sloppy hulk of a man who is at home amongst the beer swilling rugby crowd where this crime is set. His younger side-kick, Pascoe, is less comfortable; he comes from a more middle class background and does not identiy with the rugby scene. The play-off between the two becomes well developed in later novels but at this stage it is in its infancy and does not provide much entertainmant value.
The various characters are interviewed in a fairly routine manner and I was quite glad that my audio CD was the abridged version.
One aspect of this audio CD that did lift it above the run-of-the-mill though, was the fact that it was read by Warren Clarke, himself. He has a highly recognisable voice that instantly launched me into the British TV series that I had enjoyed many years ago.
This is the first book in the Pascoe and Dalziel series and it set the scene for future investigations featuring the two detectives. Written back in 1970, it is decidedly dated, but more recent books by this author have received good ratings so I may give him another go in the future.
Ok it doesn't have hundreds of twists and turns but the writing presents some colourful characters and Hill brings them alive well. His two detectives certainly start in this book with a bit of a love/hate relationship. Dalziel has acerbic wit which is delivered quite well by the author and try as I might I couldn't help but picture Warren Clarke in the TV role as I read it.
The mystery surrounds a old hand of a rugby player who after a game of rugby and a knock goes home to sleep off his injury while his wife is downstairs and when he then wakes up she has been murdered.
Dalziel and Pascoe have to decide from the many possible suspects just who is leading them up the garden path and who it is that delivered that fatal blow.
If you are not expecting great mysteries but a good plot that is well written and easy to read then this is a good read.
Don't miss the Joe Sixsmith books either; Hill's playful humour, clear particularly in Dalziel's brilliant one liners, is even nearer the surface in the Joe Sixsmith books. Start with Blood Sympathy.
The stand alone novels are well worth reading too. The Woodcutter in particular is excellent, written when Hill's skills had been honed to near perfection.