The First Hints of Purple is a wide-ranging collection of stories whose meticulous, elegant prose encompasses everyday experience alongside shrewd and often comic insights into human nature.
Many of the tales are familiar in form whilst others comprise what Hill refers to as 'indeterminate literary entities'.
These probe beneath the surface of ordinary events in pursuit of those indefinable aspects of reality about which no convincing explanation exists.
Although such matters are by nature 'profound', they are also part of daily life - thereby justifying a hint of schadenfreude when a passenger train to Heathrow is delayed.
Alternatively, we can only watch in silence as the Fireweed, displaying its 'first hints of purple', bursts into flower, regardless of 'nature red in tooth and claw' in the nearby undergrowth.
By contrast, in 'The Rathbone-Baker Prize', we can breeze lightheartedly along to the Quantum Gallery where a visitor fails to realise that a pile of newspapers is not just a pile of newspapers but a bona fide exhibit!
The First Hints of Purple is a collection of tales in which subject matter, mood, length and style vary greatly.
Featured at intervals, there's a further, distinctive side to Hill's work in which his characters meditate on the enigma of 'time'. Indeed, mentioned repeatedly throughout the diverse and always riveting ups-and-downs of Hill's stories, 'time' is a recurrent question. And it's a question to which he wisely gives no answer!
Underpinned throughout by humour, this book will appeal to established short story lovers as well as to a broader readership.