This is the 19th novel featuring Yorkshire detectives Dalziel and Pascoe. Dalziel the “fat man” has a dry with and a sharp intelligence hidden behind a curmudgeonly exterior. Pascoe is more educated but has rather a low key presence in this novel. A young Detective Constable Bowler, nicknamed “Hat” is cutting his teeth on his first serial murder case and is keen but doesn’t follow Dalziel’s instructions to the letter, communicating confidential police information to his “bit of fluff”. Two deaths which appeared at first to be accidents are connected when the murderer enters details of the murders in a short story competition. The competition entries go to the local library, where librarians Dee and Rye have the onerous task of sorting the entries. The killings continue even after the competition ends with the dialogues continuing to turn up at the library as the body count increases. The killer is nicknamed the “Wordman” and there is a lot of paranomasia and paranomania throughout the book (look them up in the OED). An interesting read for lovers of puns and word games, maybe a little over long for a crime suspense novel.
The ending let’s just say is a little different as the murder victims are preparing their journey across the river Styx in an imaginative final dialogue.
My rating 4 out of 5