There are No Ghosts in the Soviet Union Paperback
A superb collection of short stories from Reginald Hill, the award-winning author of the Dalziel and Pascoe novels and `the best living male crime writer in the English-speaking world' (Independent)In suburban Luton, a private detective on his first case discovers that curiosity can kill more than just the cat... meanwhile, in wartime Boulogne, one officer will do anything to ensure that his men are ready to kill for their country... and in Stalinist Moscow, Inspector Chislenko must find out why three people have just witnessed a 50-year-old murder.
From France to Russia, the 1830s to 1916 and the present day, Reginald Hill has crafted half a dozen tantalizing tales of the unexpected.
He asks questions that will intrigue and gives answers that will astound.Featuring some of his best-loved characters, among them Joe Sixsmith and, of course, Dalziel and Pascoe, this is Reginald Hill at his devilish best.
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 336 pages
- Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
- Publication Date: 01/03/2010
- Category: Short stories
- ISBN: 9780007316984
- EPUB from £3.49
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Review by JulesJones
Collection of half a dozen crime stories first published in 1987, which has some bearing on the tone of some of them. The collection is laced with a biting humour, and some superb if sardonic observations of human nature.My favourite in the collection is the eponymous novella, in which Inspector Lev Chislenko arrives at the scene of an accident at a government building in Moscow, where the witnesses say they saw a man in old-fashioned clothes fall down a lift shaft - only there is no body. It's an embarrassing case to be involved with, especially as the higher-ups want the rumours of ghosts quashed as un-Soviet. There are no ghosts in the Soviet Union. But to his discomfort, Chislenko's investigation intended to prove the non-existence of ghosts by showing that no such accident happened even in the past leads him in a direction he hadn't expected to go. Other stories include "Bring back the cat!", private detective Joe Sixsmith's first case; "The Bull Ring", a nasty little tale about brutal training methods used on Great War recruits; "Auteur theory", a nominally Dalziell and Pascoe story which turns out to be meta discussion on more than one level; "Poor Emma", which I can only describe as one of the odder pieces of literary fanfic gamesmanship I have encountered, probably as likely to infuriate Austen fans as please them; and "Crowded Hour", about a "take the wife hostage at home" armed robbery attempt that twists and turns.I didn't like all of these stories, but they were all well-crafted pieces that made me think. Only half of them are ones I'd really want to read again, but I don't regret the time spent on any of them.