13 January 2008


At last my third novel for the year completed.

DCI Simon Serrailler is in Venice on a sketching holiday when a phone call comes from his father to say that if he wants to see his handicapped sister alive he needs to come home straightaway. Shortly after he arrives home the case that dominates this book begins. Eight year old David Angus is abducted as he waits on the footpath in front of his house for his ride to school. As the investigation drags on, there are no clues to the whys and wherefores of the abduction, and the bereft Angus family disintegrates.

I've tried to work out what it is that I so much like in these books. This is #2 in Susan Hill's Serrailler series, and the reader would be well advised to read #1, THE VARIOUS HAUNTS OF MEN, first. It is almost as if Hill has created a laboratory in which she can play with a couple of themes: the case of the missing boy, the ex-con trying to go straight, Serrailler's ex-lover who begins to stalk him, overworked general practictioners, against a rich tapestry of characters, particularly those connected with the Serrailler family, in the small cathedral town of Lafferton. I think of what I also like is the "completeness" of the picture, although great patches of time are just skated over.

I didn't find it a particularly quick read, and I found there was a lot to think about. In my mind's eye I can see these books becoming the basis of an episodic television series. Hill has me looking for #3 (THE RISK OF DARKNESS)

My rating: 4.7

1 comment:

Maxine Clarke said...

After our earlier blog exchange on this book, it was on my list for my shopping trip yesterday, but was not in stock at the local bookshops. I've ordered it from Amazon, so will be catching up with you on the series in due course!


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