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Dalziel and Pascoe author Reginald Hill dies at 75

Warren Clarke and Colin Buchanan as Det Supt Andy Dalziel and DI Peter Pascoe
Image caption The BBC drama based on Reginald Hill's novels began in 1996

The author of the Dalziel and Pascoe crime novels, Reginald Hill, has died at the age of 75.

His agent said Hill died peacefully at home in Cumbria on Thursday after a year long battle with cancer.

He is survived by his wife of 51 years, Pat, and two brothers, David and Desmond.

Ian Rankin, the author of the Rebus books, described Hill as a "fine writer and a great wit".

Hill was born in Hartlepool in 1936, where his father was playing professional football for the town's team, before moving to Cumbria with his family at the age of three.

He studied English at Oxford University and worked as a teacher but kept writing.

He eventually saw his first book, A Clubbable Woman, published in 1970.

'Great wit'

In 2010, the novel made the long list for the Lost Man Booker Prize which aimed to redress an anomaly which had meant books published in 1970 were not eligible.

The award was originally given for any book published in the previous year, but in 1971 it became an award for the best novel published that year.

In 1980 Hill gave up teaching to write full time.

The Dalziel and Pascoe crime novels found a wider audience when they were turned into a BBC television drama in 1996 featuring Warren Clarke and Colin Buchanan.

The author of more than 40 books, Hill won the Crime Writers' Association Cartier Diamond Dagger in 1995 for his lifetime contribution to crime writing.

Ian Rankin, the author of the Rebus books, paid tribute to him on Twitter.

He said Hill was: "A lovely man, fine writer, great wit. Great intelligence, humour and plotting; Falstaffian main character; literary sensibility - all found in Reginald Hill's Dalziel books."

Fellow crime writer Mark Billingham described him as "a wonderful writer and the loveliest of men. One of a kind."

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