Reginald Hill is an immensely prolific English writer whose best-known books are the Dalziel and Pascoe series of procedurals. Under other names, he writes other kinds of mysteries — Death of a Dormouse reminded me, oddly, of a string of mysteries written by M.M. Kaye in the years before The Far Pavilions. It’s a kind of damsel-in-distress story set partly in Sheffield, England, and partly in Vienna. The heroine — and this is a heroine, not a protagonist — has just been widowed and discovers that she had spent the previous twenty-five years of marriage in a kind of comfortable daze while her husband Trent made all decisions for her. Upon his death, she comes to life, and makes a series of startling discoveries about her husband’s double life.
Straightforward enough, but the plotting is quite intricate, full of reversals. Hill’s ambitions are not high, and he fulfills them admirably: this is a neat little diversion.