By Reginald Hill

The word ?a country-house secret? conjures up a picture of Thirties fops in dinner jackets, starched family members retainers, slinky femme fatales. It doesn't evoke a picture of the belching Andy Dalziel, and but there he's, on an enforced vacation, fetched as much as a crumbling state manor, and sticking his bulbous nostril into the overdue owner?s strange death. As this can be actually the Seventies, the fops are wearing t-shirts and unlucky facial hair, and the family members retainer is knocking ash into the microwaved stew. yet there's a femme, and whereas she may well or is probably not fatale, she?s superb sufficient to waken even Dalziel?s lengthy dormant romantic desires.

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Additional info for An April Shroud: Dalziel & Pascoe #4

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The mist seemed particularly thick here and he strained his eyes in an effort to penetrate the grey barrier. Then through the haze appeared a shape. The sound sequence was heard once more. And into full view glided a rowing-boat. Hastily Dalziel began to fasten his flies. The boat pulled by him, the oarsman taking long, leisurely strokes. He had the look of an old countryman, weathered and fit, anything between fifty and a hundred but able to row for ever. In the bows, like a reverse figure-head sat another old man of more determinate age, about seventy, with a profile fit for a Roman coin.

Are you Mrs Fielding's . . ' He let the question hang. He let the question hang. ‘I work up at the house. ' ‘I see. Not a bad job if you play your cards right,’ said Dalziel with a knowing smirk. 'Have another drink. ' Why he should have been interested in anything but getting his car out of the flood and back into working order he did not know. But time had to be passed and the habit of professional curiosity was as hard to change as the habits of smoking or drinking or taking three helpings of potatoes and steamed pudding.

Uniff left and the other young people drifted out after him. When Mrs Fielding spoke, Dalziel noted approvingly, the others jumped. He liked a strong leader. 'I'm sorry to leave you alone, Mr Dalziel,' she said. 'But we have to have a business conference. ' 'Thanks,' he said. ' 'That boy. ' Dalziel did not deny it. 'He sounds a sensible lad,' he said, indicating the note. ' she asked, surprised. 'Well, it's neatly laid out. One, two, three. I like that,' he said with the authority of one whose own official reports were infamous for their brevity.

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