An Advancement of Learning, Dalziel and Pascoe, #2 -- Reginald Hill
The first Dalziel/Pascoe mystery was set in an environment that Dalziel found completely comfortable--a rugby club. This book, the second mystery, is just the opposite; the setting is a college campus, so it's Pascoe who's more at ease. Then again, how uncomfortable does Dalziel ever get?
It might be interesting to hear what they say, he thought as he closed the door behind him. But it'd only have curiosity value. He rarely questioned his own powers of perception, but he now admitted he'd probably have difficulty in taking in whatever the hell it was they were going on about. They seemed to treat words as things of power, not as tools. They could get stuffed. He had work to do.
Holm Coultram College is bulldozing a memorial garden to build a new science wing. To do so, a large bronze statue (nude female) has to be moved. Not too surprisingly, a skeleton (with trailing red hair, no less) is uncovered. Dalziel and Pascoe are called in. Over the course of the investigation, they discover that a student has brought charges of sexual misconduct and grade tampering up against a teacher. They also discover what might be a Satanic cult. To make matters more confusing, an old flame of Pascoe's teaches at the school. Dalziel reaches new heights of vugarity (not too high, though--it's only the second book) and the detectives' working relationship is still a little rough around the edges:
Jauntily he left the room. Pascoe had to close the door behind him. He jerked two fingers at the solid oak panels.
When he turned round he found two students solemnly staring at him through the large open window. They nodded approvingly, each tapped the side of his nose with the forefinger, and they went on their way. Despite the heat, Pascoe closed the window before he started telephoning.
I'm in love with these books.