Splitting a main character into two parts that compliment and confound each other has worked well for mystery writers from Conan Doyle to Rex Stout (and for non-mystery writers such as Patrick O'Brian in his Aubrey/Maturin sea stories). Reginald Hill's unique contributions to this form are his books about two policemen in an unnamed city in Northern England, Detectives Dalziel (pronounced "Dee-al" in the TV version) and Pascoe. Both get to show off their strengths and shortcomings in this wonderfully macabre second book in the series; Dalziel's brawn and instinct meets Pascoe's intellect as the two investigate pornographic "snuff" films in which the actors really wind up dead.|
Love, or at least pornography, are for sale at the arty Calliope Kinema Club on posh, proper Wilkinson Square. According to Yorkshire police superintendent Dalziel, it's all legal. Detective Peter Pascoe, however, doesn't believe it. His dentist, who knows real broken teeth and blood when he sees them, insists that the pretty actress wasn't playing a part when it happened. But the action that puts Pascoe into the picture is homicide. The sudden death of the Calliope's proprietor soon turns a sleazy sex flick into serious police business. And now Dalziel and Pascoe are looking into the all-too-human desire for pain, pleasure...and murder.