Bernie pic

Bernie pic

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Suspense on the Reginald Hill

I only want to add a small footnote to the obituary of crime writer Reginald Hill, whose passing is covered adequately elsewhere
Hill was one of the few popular crime fiction writers to do suspense.
The detective thriller is mostly modelled across the world on the American template, a series of puzzles within the main enigma. The author will make a cryptic statement, explained three or four sentences later. A mystery introduced in chapter 9 will be solved in chapter 10, 11 or 12. This is the structure of the page turner and a profitable one it is.
Hill, most famed for the Dalziel and Pascoe series, liked to mix it up more, accounting for his literary forays into historical novels, adventures, and rural comedies.
He liked to imbue humour, whimsy and sometimes satire, in  Dalziel and Pascoe novels as well as suspense.
Suspense is a different animal to mystery or the puzzle. 
The 20th century doyen of suspense was film maker Alfred Hitchcock. The stratagem of the auteur is to have the villain and the viewer/ reader privy to to the violent plan which is unknown to the intended victim.
Suspense is a wonderful device. The late Reginald Hill, an expert  proponent keeping it alive, we salute you.

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