Cover image for Singing the sadness : a Private Eye Joe Sixsmith mystery
Singing the sadness : a Private Eye Joe Sixsmith mystery
Hill, Reginald.
Personal Author:
First St. Martin's Minotaur edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin's Minotaur, 1999.
Physical Description:
251 pages ; 22 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
X Adult Fiction Popular Materials-Mystery
X Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks
X Adult Fiction Mystery/Suspense

On Order



Hill's delightful black private eye is on a church bus trip into the wilds of Wales when he rescues a nude woman from a burning cottage. Two people retain his services to determine her identity--but at what cost?

Author Notes

Reginald Hill has received Britain's most coveted mystery writers award, the Cartier Diamond Dagger Award, as well as the Golden Dagger, for his Dalziel/Pascoe series.

(Publisher Provided) Reginald Hill was born in Hartlepool, England on April 3, 1936. He received an English degree from St. Catherine's College, Oxford University and worked as a teacher until 1980, when he retired to become a full-time writer. His first novel, A Clubbable Woman, was published in 1970. During his lifetime, he wrote over 50 books that range from historical novels to science fiction including Fell of Dark, No Man's Land, The Spy's Wife, and The Woodcutter. He was best known for the Dalziel and Pascoe series and the Joe Sixsmith series. He also wrote under the pseudonyms of Patrick Ruell, Dick Morland, and Charles Underhill. He received the 1990 Golden Dagger Award for Best Crime Novel of the Year for Bones and Silence and the 1995 Cartier Diamond Dagger Award for lifetime achievement. He died from a brain tumor on January 12, 2012 at the age of 75.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Hill, best known for his Dalziel and Pascoe series, has another ace up his sleeve: black private eye Joe Sixsmith, a height-challenged, laid-off British lathe operator who's turned his natural inquisitiveness into a modest career as a shamus. Joe, a member of the local choir, is traveling with his fellow singers to the Llanffugiol Choral Festival when the bus passes a burning cottage; without thinking, Joe rushes into the inferno and rescues a woman from the flames. He is pronounced a hero, but there's a mystery brewing: the cottage was supposed to be empty, so who is the woman Joe rescued? The cottage owner hires Joe to discover the victim's identity, but his detecting isn't appreciated, either by the local coppers or by some of the townsfolk. Could they have secrets to hide? Hill's latest is masterfully written, deliciously witty, and unfailingly intelligent, and its hero is one of the most lovable PIs in the genre. --Emily Melton

Publisher's Weekly Review

Hill could not have created a protagonist more different from his gruff, hard-drinking, profane Andy Dalziel than Joe Sixsmith, the hero of his second series of mysteries (Killing the Lawyers, etc.). A PI without the large body and presence of Dalziel, Sixsmith is "five foot five, [with] a sagging waist and social invisibility except maybe in a convention of white supremacists." Sixsmith is black. That does make him a standout figure when he leaves Luton, England, to journey with the Boyling Corner Chapel choir to Wales for the remote and unheralded Llanffugiol Choral Festival. But Joe's usual self-effacement is ruined when he rescues a nude woman from a burning cottage in the countryside. Thrust out of the choral competition by the injuries he receives in the fire, Joe is driven into a far deadlier competition. Who is the woman he rescued, and how did she come to be in the supposedly unoccupied cottage? Joe is hired by the owner of the cottage to find the answers; and he secretly gets a second retainer from the man's wife, who suspects the woman from the fire is her husband's mistress. Joe's adventures and misadventures among the provincial Welsh folk and their more sophisticated police officers and academics are absorbing and dangerous. Sixsmith's fourth outing lacks the brilliant byplay that distinguishes the Dalziel/Pascoe novels, but the characterizations remain sharp. And Hill's swift pacing and keen dialogue make his modest, intelligent hero a winner in this intriguing tale of the seedy side of small-town life. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Black private eye Joe Sixsmith rescues an anonymous nude woman from a burning Welsh cottage. The cottage owner then hires Joe to discover her identity. A solid addition to the series. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.