A Pinch Of Snuff - Reginald Hill “ALL RIGHT. ALL RIGHT! GASPED PASCOE IN HIS AGONY.”

Thus started A PINCH OF SNUFF by the celebrated British Crime author Reginald Hill, the fifth instalment of his crime novels featuring the protagonist duo of Andy “Fat man” Dalziel, his “sidekick” Peter Pascoe, and deftly helped by Sergeant Weild. And, not to forget peter’s feisty wife Ellie. The book starts with Peter’s visit to his dentist when the doctor tells him that in a recent BDSM adult movie viewing, of which the doctor was a part of, there was a suspicion on the part of the doctor, that the actress involved was really beaten and that her teeth flew of her mouth in reality, instead of acting the part. Pascoe burdened with such revelations decides to investigate the matter, albeit on his own, as Fat Man Dalziel takes no interest in the accusations and clearly states that Pascoe is chasing wild goose. Things takes a turn when the man in charge of the movie theatre showing the movie is found murdered and his home ransacked. Pascoe like a true detective follows his hunch and we are presented with a slow yet a twisted work of crime writing.

This is probably one of those very few detective duo series where the main work, or rather the main leg work is done by the sidekick. At times I feel that Pascoe is the main character with Dalziel appearing like a visiting consultant only to provide valuable snippets of input and theories. But never once reading the book there is a feeling that one of the two is the main character and the other being the sidekick. Hill manages to portray in such a way which makes them look both equal a partner, which is not present too often in crime fiction. Right from Holmes and Watson, through Poirot and Hastings to Morse and Lewis. Not many writers can claim such feat, but among those who can, Hill is one of them. And; this is what makes this duo such an interesting pair of crime fighters.

The plot was slow, and it was twisted, with a lot of connection between the events that takes place. This book needs time for reading; any plans of finishing it in two days flat would fall flat. But once one third of the book has gone by, the plot thickens and the pace starts building. And since the book dealt with a subject which seldom gets talked about or gets featured in books as a subject for a plot, the reading experience is made even better.