Reginald Hill

Reginald Hill: 1995 Cartier Diamond Dagger Winner

Reginald Hill, winner of the 1995 Cartier Diamond Dagger, died at the age of 75 on 12 January 2012.

Perhaps best known as the creator of Dalziel and Pascoe, he was the winner of the CWA Gold Dagger in 1990 (for Bones and Silence) and the Mystery Thriller Book Club People’s Choice in 2004. He remained a CWA member up to his death.

Tributes have flooded in from fellow crime writers: Ian Rankin tweeted “A lovely man, fine writer, great wit … Great intelligence, humour and plotting; Falstaffian main character; literary sensibility - all found in his ‘Dalziel and Pascoe’ books.”. Val McDermid added “the finest of writers, the finest of men, the finest of friends. I'm going to miss the wit, the intelligence, the banter” Natasha Cooper “A man of great wit and huge heart. His death leaves us all the poorer.” Chaz Brenchley “he was a great crime writer, and a great friend.”; Ruth Dudley Edwards “He was my favourite crime writer and was great company. I’'m desolate.”; Michael Jecks “Great writer who’ll be much missed.”

The CWA’s archivist Martin Edwards, in a tribute posted in his blog, said “Reg in person was exceptionally intelligent, but never condescending, strong-minded and honest but unfailingly generous, and, despite appearing on occasion to be quiet and reserved, quite simply, the wittiest person I’ve ever met.”

Reginald Hill was born in Harlepool in 1936. His mother was a great fan of Golden-Age crime writers, and he discovered the genre while fetching her library books. After National Service and reading English at St Catherine’s College, Oxford, he worked as a teacher for many years, rising to Senior Lecturer at Doncaster College of Education. In 1980 he retired to become a full-time writer.

He wrote almost sixty books, including twenty-four volumes of the Dalziel and Pascoe series. A twenty-fifth is due to be published next year.

An active member of the CWA, he for many years chaired the sub-committee that short-lists notable crime writers for the CWA Cartier Diamond Dagger. He was a founder member of the CWA’s Northern Chapter. He also helped fellow crime writers in less formal ways: Ann Cleeves is not alone in recalling his helpful advice and guidance as she was embarking on her crime-writing career.

Reg is survived by his wife Pat, to whom we extend our condolences.