‘Few writers in the genre today have Hill's gifts: formidable intelligence, quick humour, compassion and a prose style that blends elegance and grace' Donna Leon, Sunday Times
Hurrying out of St Monkey's church one day, Joe Sixsmith stumbles across a boy's corpse in a cardboard box and into more trouble than he's ever known.
His casebook is full to bursting: retired colonial Mrs C. demands to know how the boy got there; Gallie, the Mutant from Outer Space, urges him to find the stranger nosing into her granddad's past; while Butcher, that briefest of briefs, is hellbent on digging the dirt on a deputy head's out-of-school activities.
Joe threads his way through the mean streets of Luton, fighting off cops, druggies and the matchmaking machinations of his Auntie Mirabelle. But there's little joy to be found in the truth: that kids grow up fast, and that even the luckiest ones are born guilty.
`He pays attention to the old-fashioned values: meticulous plotting, authentic characterisation and realistic dialogue'
`Reginald Hill stands head and shoulders above any other writer of homebred crime fiction'
`Reginald Hill's novels are really dances to the music of time'
`He is first and foremost an instinctive and complete novelist who is blessed with a spontaneous storytelling gift'
Frances Fyfield, Mail on Sunday