Finally I've managed to get around to finishing reading the first book for 2008. I'd heard a lot of good things about this book, and while it won't be my best read for 2008, it will be in my top 10 for a while.
THE VARIOUS HAUNTS OF MEN by Susan Hill
Detective Sergeant Freya Graffham has arrived in the small cathedral town of Lafferton to join DCI Simon Serrailler's team. She makes new friends in the town rather more easily than she expected, especially through Serrailler's mother who is a local social identity, and his sister, one of the town's doctors.
Angela Randall, a woman in her fifties has disappeared without trace while out walking on the Hill in the fog. Halfway up the Hill loom the Wern Stones, ancient standing stones, that loom "like three witches squatting around a cauldron". There is nothing to link this disappearance with any other case it seems, but there is also a young man who disappeared on the Hill while out jogging, and then there is Jim William's vanished dog Skippy. Simon Serailler's sister, Dr. Cat Deerborn has concerns of her own: a friend who has what seems to be terminal cancer, and then some alternative medicine practitioners whose practices can be downright dangerous.
I loved the way this book is structured: several voices clamouring for the reader's attention; new characters to be explored; and strands that don't quite come together until towards the end. #1 in the Simon Serrailler series.
I do like to start a series at the beginning and read them in order.
I feel excited at prospect of reading the next two:
THE PURE IN HEART (2005)
THE RISK OF DARKNESS (2006)
I have both lurking among the 20+ library books waiting on my shelves.
And then apparently there are two more to be published this year
Why MYSTERIES? Because that is the genre I read.
Why PARADISE? Because that is where I live.
Among other things, this blog, the result of a 2008 New Year's resolution,
will act as a record of books that I've read, and random thoughts.
8 January 2008
Posted by Kerrie at 6:36:00 pm
Labels: crime, detection, fiction, mystery, police procedurals, recommendations, Susan Hill
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Good review-- you sum up my own feelings about this book very aptly.
Isn't the ending a shocker, though? In a funny way, it has put me off reading any more of the series.
Like you I have to read series in order. I've been given a review copy of no 3, but I think I will need to buy and then read no 2 before I can start it. (And I have about 500 unread books in my house, and keep buying more, especially now with all these "best of 2007" lists that are around and about.)
I have begun reading THE PURE IN HEART Maxine, and the focus is very much on Simon Serrailler and what makes him tick. It begins with Simon in Venice on a painting trip - and I though goody! because I've been to Venice several times and also love Donna Leon books - and then he gets a message form his father that if he wants to see his handicapped younger sister alive he must come home straight away.
The other story is the release of a man who has been in prison for 5 years and how fearful he is of rejoining the real world.
And then a third strand, the snatching of a young boy from the footpath in front of his home when he is waiting for a friend's father to pick him up to go to school. Excellent so far. Go buy it!
Ok, you've convinced me! (Not that it takes much...)
I love Donna Leon's books, too, and was in Venice this summer, so I went to see the police station to get a feel for it (as well as La Fenice etc, but not primarily for Leon reasons in this case;-) )
I think you said in another post that you read Camilleri --he's great, too, and Carofiglio.
Do you know Crime Scraps blog? Norm is an "uber fan" of Donna Leon and has many nice posts about her books there. (The phrase "uber fan" was coined by Karen M of Euro Crime.)
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