Crime Novel Quotes – Death’s Jest-Book


I read Reginald Hill’s Death’s Jest-Book in the fall of 2003, noting favourite turns of phrases and extended thoughts as I went. Here are a few from this master of language and characterisation:

“‘You know Superintendent Dalziel?’

‘Only like a curate knows Beezlebub. Heard a lot about him, but hope I’ll never have the pleasure of meeting him personally.'”

“Pascoe knew that Dalziel in frolicsome mood was like an elephant dancing. The wise man did not complain it was badly done, he just steered well clear.”

“‘Well fuck me rigid and sell me to the Tate.'”  [said by Dalziel; meaning, “I’m gobsmacked.”]

Rye to Dalziel: “‘This is comfort and light?,’ she said. ‘What do you do when you bring bad news? Shove a severed leg through the letter box and yell, “There’s been a bit of an accident, luv”?'”

[Wield’s] partner, antiquarian book dealer Edwin Digweed, had turned out to be a traditionalist in matters yulic. At first, Wield had looked for an element of piss-taking as the familiar outlines of their cottage vanished beneath a folly of furbelows and he found himself sharing their small sitting room with an outsize fir tree whose apogean fairy bowed gracefully from her waist because her head pressed against the ceiling. On a shopping expedition to a hypermarket, which during the rest of the year Digweed refered to as Hell’s Cathedral, he had watched in bewilderment as their trolley piled up with crackers and baubles and puddings and pies and jars of pickled walnuts and yards of cocktail sausage and samples of every kind of exotic confectionery and savory on display. Finally he has enquired politely if the Red Cross had perhaps warned Edwin to expect a flash flood of starving but picky refugees in remote Eendale.”


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