This week I had two associated treats. The first was the arrival of an advance copy of the latest Dalziel and Pascoe novel, by Reginald Hill. It is called Midnight Fugue – good title, I think. Publication is scheduled for 1 June.
The second was a conversation with Reg himself. I haven’t seen him for a couple of years and it was good to have the chance to catch up over a drink. Twenty years ago, he was one of the first members of the Crime Writers’ Association I met when I joined the newly formed Northern Chapter. It was a very exciting experience for me, as a lifelong crime fan – not least because at the time I was reading his latest book. Reg and his wife Pat, and I and my wife-to-be Helena attended the inaugural meeting at Boroughbridge – Reg christened us ‘The Few’, but the Chapter has gone from strength to strength over the years and Reg and Pat have become good friends.
He has given me a great deal of encouragement in my writing career, and was continuing to do so the other night. A few years ago, I published a collection of short stories, and Reg contributed a very generous introduction.
For my part, I’ve long been an admirer of Reg’s writing – especially the Dalziel and Pascoe books, of course, but also many others. In fact, he’s had a remarkably varied, as well as prolific, writing career. His thriller The Only Game, for instance, originally written as by Patrick Ruell, is quite splendid. Of the many highlights in the Dalziel series, I’m tempted to pick Dialogues of the Dead as my absolute favourite. I’m looking forward to Midnight Fugue, and so will the rest of his fans.