Pascoe and Ellie are late for a reunion with old friends. When they finally get there, three of the four friends are dead, murdered by someone wielding a shotgun. The fourth friend is missing.
Meanwhile, Dalziel is dealing with a string of burglaries.
For me, these books really aren't about the mysteries. Which isn't to say that they aren't good--they are. As police procedural mystery novels go, these are some of the best out there. They're so well written. And funny--but in a smart, sometimes-I-have-to-re-read-the-paragraph-to-make-sure-that-I-read-it-right kind of way.
But (again, for me) the mysteries are secondary to the characters themselves. Seeing their relationships change slowly from book to book, learning more and more about them (especially Dalziel--how can he not be everyone's favorite?) and well, just following their lives... I like all that even more than the mysteries themselves.
The old Dalziel logic. Pascoe drank the last of his beer. He must be reaching maturity; he hardly felt even slightly irritated.
See? See how much closer Dalziel and Pascoe have become? Pascoe almost doesn't want to strangle him now! And hell! Ellie's even going out for drinks with him:
Ellie stood up clutching her handbag to her stomach. "I was right about you," she said clearly. "You're a heartless old bastard."
"Are you going?" asked Dalziel.
"Only to the loo. I'll have another gin when I get back."
I love them.