Thursday, February 16, 2012

A Clubbable Woman by Reginald Hill (Collins Crime Club 1970)

Superintendent Andrew Dalziel was a big man. When he took his jacket off and dropped it over the back of a chair it was like a Bedouin pitching camp. He had a big head, greying now; big eyes, short-sighted, but losing nothing of their penetrating force behind a pair of solidframed spectacles; and he blew his big nose into a khaki handkerchief a foot-and-a-half square. He had been a vicious lock forward in his time, which had been a time before speed and dexterity were placed higher in the list of a pack's qualities than sheer indestructibility. The same order of priorities had brought him to his present office. He was a man not difficult to mock. But it was dangerous sport. And perhaps therefore all the more tempting to a Detective-Sergeant who was twenty years younger, had a degree in social sciences and read works of criminology.

Dalziel sank over his chair and scratched himself vigorously between the legs. Not absent-mindedly - nothing he did was mannerism - but with conscious sensuousness. Like scratching a dog to keep it happy, a constable had once said within range of Dalziel's very sharp hearing. He had liked the simile and therefore ignored it.

1 comment:

Darren said...

To the best of my knowledge, the first mention of Dalziel in print.

You've got to love those early 70s paperback front covers.