Crime Novel Quotes: Underworld by Reginald Hill

53a43f40e4dfd4b34ffae18472d6f1e4.jpgJust finished Hill’s Underworld (1988), in the Dalziel/Pascoe police procedural series set in the Mid-Yorks.

“‘How’d it go, then?’ asked Pascoe wih a casualness she mistook for indifference.

“‘Fine,’ [Ellie] grunted with a laconicism he mistook for exclusion.”

“[Pascoe] too looked around the room. Saw the mouthing faces, ghastly in the smoke-fogged strip-lighting. Heard the raucous laughter, the bellowed conversations, the eardrum-striating music. He felt a deep revulsion against it all. But he knew he was not applying a fair test. He was not a very clubbable person. His loyalties were individual rather than institutional. He distrusted the exclusivity of esprit de corps. Not that there was anything sinister here. This scene was the commonplace of ten thousand clubs and pubs the length and breadth of the island. Here was the companionship of the ale-house, nothing more.”

“[Dalziel] knew he couldn’t win this present argument but he also believed there was nowt like a few teeth marks in the ankle to make a postman tread carefully next time he came bearing bad news.”

“Pascoe smiled wanly and left. Behind him Dalziel and Wield exchanged glances which to the casual eye might have looked like a freeze-frame from Frankenstein Meets Godzilla but in which they registered their mutual concern.”

“‘So Mr. Dalziel is in charge? Well, well. He’s by way of being a friend of yours, I believe?’

“He couldn’t keep the note of interrogation, or perhaps rather of incredulity out of his voice.

“‘Yes, sir,’ said Pascoe simply, not having the two or three hours necessary for an in-depth analysis of the relationship.'”

“‘For I’m to be the Queen of the May, mother, I’m to be the Queen of the May,’ [Wield] murmured to himself with a flash of that self-mocking humour which all men need who are to walk near dark edges without tumbling off.”

“The two women exchanged glances, then Marion said, ‘If I knew, I’d not tell you, but as I don’t there’s no harm in telling you the different stories.’

“This interesting distinction between confidence and commonality being approved by Wendy, Marion began. She was not long allowed sole occupancy of the stage as Wendy kept chipping in with addenda and corrections of details of date, time, meteorology, dress, disposition and genealogy, and soon it became an oratorio for two voices.”


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