There Are No Ghosts in the Soviet Union

There Are No Ghosts in the Soviet Union - Reginald Hill I always enjoy encountering a short story collection by a novelist I've followed, especially a mystery novelist, because the constraints imposed by their usual "universe" are lifted, and even if the gathered material is necessarily more ephemeral, it's also more diverse and gives a stronger sense of the novelist's sensibilities.

This collection includes, memorably, a "meta" story about actors playing the Dalziel and Pascoe characters in a putative movie, with "the author" taking a major role; a beautifully rendered pastiche of Jane Austen, where Emma Woodhouse/Knightley pursues what you could reasonably see as one logical consequence of her character; and the title story, which must have suddenly seemed dated when the Wall fell just a couple of years after its publication, but which now, 25 years later, reads as a very humorous commentary (and a sobering one) on the abuses of power that will inevitably occur within a repressive bureaucratic system, regardless of where or when said system exists.

Good stuff.