Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Short Story Wednesday: "There Are No Ghosts in the Soviet Union" by Reginald Hill

My story for today is "There Are No Ghosts in the Soviet Union". It is actually a novella, 67 pages long in the paperback edition I am reading, which was published in 1987. 

Inspector Lev Chislenko answers an emergency call about a man who had been pushed down an elevator shaft. Yet when he arrives at the site, there is no body to be found. All the witnesses swear that a man stepped in the elevator and was pushed through the floor to his death. It seems to be a paranormal event, but his superiors insist that such an event doesn't happen in the Soviet Union. He does his best to find other explanations, but his innate honesty causes him to keep forcing the issue, finding new information which leads him to believe in the paranormal occurrence. This is both a ghost story and a love story, and I like the way the problem is handled.


This story was published in There Are No Ghosts in the Soviet Union: A Novella and Five Stories. All the stories are by Reginald Hill. The other stories include one that features Dalziel and Pascoe and one about Joe Sixsmith. I look forward to reading those stories also.


British author Reginald Hill (1936 - 2012) worked as a schoolmaster and a college lecturer until he began writing full time in 1980. He received the Gold Dagger for Bones and Silence (1990) and in 1995 he won the CWA’s Cartier Diamond Dagger for Lifetime Achievement. Hill was a prolific writer; in addition to the Dalziel and Pascoe series and the Joe Sixsmith series, he wrote many standalone novels, some under the name Patrick Ruell.


21 comments:

Cath said...

Now I didn't know that Reginald Hill wrote this kind of thing and am ingrigued. It's funny, I used to find the TV series of Dalziel and Pascoe absolutely unmissable back in the eighties, really terrific. But when I tried to watch it recently as a series of repeats I found it had not aged well and I just couldn't stomach Dalziel. Which is a testament to Warren Clarke's acting of course as he was not at all like that in real life I gather.

George said...

I'm familiar with Dalziel and Pascoe but not any of Reginald HIll's short stories. I'll have to rectify that. Excellent choice!

pattinase (abbott) said...

I too have never read his short stories.

Sam Sattler said...

Thanks for bringing this one to my attention. I don't think I've read any of Hill's short stories. I think just based on the cover art and the book's title, this is one I would feel compelled to explore if I ever ran across it in a bookstore. It's a real eye-catcher.

TracyK said...

Cath, I have had this book since 2008 but I wasn't interested in short stories back then.

My husband and I watched a couple of episodes of the Dalziel and Pascoe TV series a few years ago but we did not stick with them. I may try them again someday

TracyK said...

George, I will be trying to track down more of his short stories. There is a book of Dalziel and Pascoe short stories that I also bought years ago and a book called Pascoe's Ghost that has more stand alone stories (that I don't have). And other stories in anthologies.

TracyK said...

Patti, I did not think I had read any of his short stories either, but I found that I had read (and reviewed on the blog) a short story called "True Thomas". It was from an anthology titled 2nd Culprit: A Crime Writers' Annual, edited by Liza Cody and Michael Z. Lewin. There were three of those Culprit anthologies; I am going to have to find where I shelved them.

TracyK said...

Sam, I love the cover of this anthology. Just based on this story, I think other short stories by Hill will be interesting.

Margot Kinberg said...

I need to read this, Tracy. I really like Hill's writing, and I ought to try his short stories. It sounds like a good story, too.

Rick Robinson said...

HOT here, in 90s, I’m miserable and about Togo to a Doctor appt, which I hate, so GRUMPY. Not sur I read any Hill, not sure why.

Rick Robinson said...

Togo = to go
sur = sure

Grrrrr.

TracyK said...

Rick, I was able to decipher your typos (or auto-corrects) and I know how frustrating that can be. I don't blame you for being grumpy when it's hot and with a doctor's appointment. I have been lethargic, with digestive problems, but getting better now.

Hill's books are very good, I have the second half of his Dalziel and Pascoe series unread but haven't gotten back to them. And some standalone books I want to try.

TracyK said...

Margot, Knowing how much you are a fan of Hill's writing, I am sure you would like his short stories.

Martin Edwards had a post about Reginald Hill's short stories at the site that you and Rhian Davies hosted. I am using that as source of recommendations for other short stories.

https://crimewritingmonth2012.wordpress.com/2012/06/03/reginald-hill-short-story-writer/

George said...

You can see the cards that are featured on the cover of THE OK END OF FUNNY TOWN here: http://kahnselesnick.biz/store/carnival-at-the-end-of-the-world-tarot-deck-commercial-edition

TracyK said...

That is a lovely deck of tarot cards, George. Thanks for the link.

George said...

Like you, I love the artwork on the CARNIVAL AT THE TEND OF THE WORLD tarot deck. I might have to send some of my Stimulus money...

TracyK said...

Same here, George, I would love to own a set of those cards.

Katrina said...

I had no idea that he had written anything other than the Dalziel and Pascoe books, this one sounds really interesting.

TracyK said...

Katrina, the novella is very good and it looks like the other stories will be too. I want to read the Joe Sixsmith series also.

col2910 said...

I do need to try something from Hill, Tracy. Maybe not this but one of his series books, either Dalziel and Pascoe or Sixsmith. I fancy Sixsmith becuase of the setting, having grown up in Luton.

TracyK said...

Col, I agree that you should try Sixsmith, both for that reason and because I would like to see what you think of that series. I have several books in the series but haven't read any of them.