One woman dead and one threatening to die set Yorkshire's police superintendent Dalziel and Inspector Pascoe on a chilling hunt for a killer and a potential suicide. A drunken Dalziel witnesses the murder that others insist is a tragic accident. Meanwhile the letters of an anonymous woman say she plans to kill herself in a spectacular way...unless Pascoe can find her first. Dalziel has been picked to play God in a local Mystery Play, but can he live up to his role by solving this puzzling psychological thriller...or unveiling the passions and perversions that lie hidden in the human heart?
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful: Interesting, with an ending I am still not sure about..., July 14, 2002 Reviewer: Karen Sadler from Freedom, Pa. USA Regardless of other reviewers and the difficulty of Hill's linguistic excursions sometimes, Hill is still one of the top producers of well-written mysteries of this current batch. This particular book had its good points and its bad points, but overall the book was a great read. I enjoyed the introductions that use the York Cycle of Mystery Plays. Apparently, like many other European countries such as Germany, theatricals explaining the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ, and in this particular group of plays, the period of creation and Lucifer's involvement in free agency, was used because people at that time simply could not pick up the Bible and read it. It was written in Latin, and only the clergy (and some royalty) had the ability to read. I expect that these theatricals were an extremely popular change of pace from the daily grind and I look forward to learning more concerning them, now that Hill has brought them to my attention. As usual Dalziel is his perturbing, acidic, and curmudgeonly self. He doesn't like it when he ends up on the other side as a witness to a crime, that he's having a heck of a time proving actually happened as a homicide and not an accident. Like most of us, we don't like it when the shoe is on the other foot, and Dalziel doesn't take well to being seen as wrong. In the end...well...that would ruin the story. Not going to give it away. Pascoe has his own set of problems to deal with. He's still recuperating from the last case that nearly killed him, and his more sensitive psyche has taken a beating. His wife gets him involved in some of her pet projects, which he is not crazy about...but it ends up being of some assistance to providing keys of understanding to Dalziel's witnessed crime, and to the person who is writing Dalziel letters about her future self-inflicted demise. This side story confuses a few readers, but life is never so tidy as to give us one problem at a time. IF it were, I think more crimes and problems would be solved. Dalziel can't be bothered with figure out who the looney is who is writing him suicide notes (and the writer knows this). But as usual, Pascoe gets saddled with this annoying problem, and it weighs on him. I really am not sure what happened at the end...but it was certainly not what I expected. A sign of a good writer for me is one where I deliberately go back and look for his other books, rather than just browsing through and picking up a mystery that 'looks' good. I did that for too long, and it ends up wasting my time. When I want a good writer with a good plot and decent characters, I know where to go look for one. Hill still has plenty I have not read yet. Time to go get another! Karen Sadler, University of Pittsburgh