Out of Context: The Price of Butcher’s Meat

The Price of Butcher's Meat, by Reginald Hill

Just finished Reginald Hill’s The Price of Butcher’s Meat (2008; published as A Cure for All Diseases in the UK), which was strong on Dalziel (still recuperating), introduced budding psychologist and sharp observer Charley Heywood through her emails, and brought back Franny Roote, who I’m convinced is a sociopath despite his own musings that he’s not. Pascoe, Wield, Novello and Hat had minor roles this time, and Ellie was absent.

Some of my favourite bits:

Dalziel to Roote: “I can work out that you’ve been here long enough for our landlord to know you drink parrot piss!”

Roote: “Cranberry juice actually. … Full of vitamins, you really ought to try it.”

Dalziel: “Mebbe after morris dancing and incest.”

Roote, describing Lady D: “She is, I believe, a very good hater.”

In some Yorkshire pubs, the appearance of a stranger cuts off conversation like a toad in the blancmange ….

When Charley entered the lounge, Dalziel, occupying one of Tom Parker’s low-slung Scandinavian chairs like the USA occupying Iraq, tried to lever himself upright but had difficulty formulating a satisfactory exit strategy.

Dalziel let out a sighing groan, or groaning sigh, the kind of sound that might well up from the soul of a tone-deaf man who has just realized the second act of Götterdämmerung is not the last.

PC Scroggs: “Thought it would be all right as he came along with the Super.”

Some things didn’t change. If the Prince of Darkness came along with the Super, that would be passport sufficient for all subsequent horned and hooved arrivals.

He spun around on his stool. The expression on his face made Munch’s Scream look like a smiley.


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