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Midnight Fugue: A Dalziel and Pascoe Mystery    by Reginald Hill order for
Midnight Fugue
by Reginald Hill
Order:  USA  Can
Harper, 2009 (2009)
Hardcover, e-Book

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* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

As Midnight Fugue opens, Yorkshire Detective Superintendent Andy Dalziel is back on the job after a long, slow recovery from a terrorist attack that left him in a coma in Death Comes for the Fat Man. Not that he slowed down much, as he kept his hand in while convalescing at the Avalon Clinic (in The Price of Butcher's Meat).

Now, as Andy shakily prepares to get back to duty, a favor is requested by an old acquaintance - DI Mick Purdy of the Met asks him to assist his fiancée Gina Wolfe in her search for her husband Alex, who has been (until recently) assumed dead. Alex Wolfe disappeared after the tragic loss of their small daughter. At the time he had also been under suspicion in an enquiry into a leak in an investigation called Operation Macavity, because its target was so elusive. Financier Goldie Gidman had systematically erased all traces of the violence and intimidation on which his business empire was founded. If it comes to light now, it could derail the burgeoning political career of his son, David Gidman the Third.

Andy quickly determines that Gina is being followed. There's a murder and a policewoman is badly injured. Then Gina disappears. Journalists are on the scent. And there's an assassin in the plot - Fleur Delay, who is dying and has kept her inept brother Vince close and out of jail, is trying to keep herself together for one last job. Andy constantly frustrates his subordinates - especially Chief Inspector Peter Pascoe who has got used to running things in his absence - by his need to know attitude. He does the same this time, but Peter still has Andy's back when he leaps into the fray without backup at the end.

Justice is ultimately served, but not by the police. As Dalziel muses, 'He'd skidded close to the edge round a very dangerous corner, but he was still on the bloody road!' He's a wonderful character, a fat, canny and unrepentant old man who's a delight to watch in action, thick Yorkshire dialect and all.

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