In Hill's fine second Simon Serrailler crime novel (after The Various Haunts of Men), Inspector Serrailler, who's still brooding over the unsolved murder of a fellow officer a year earlier, has sought solace amid Italian ruins with his sketchbook, much to the disapproval of his father back in England. Summoned home to the cathedral town of Lafferton, Serrailler finds that murder, family breakups and the abduction of a schoolboy have occurred in his absence. Other worries include the impending death of his handicapped sister, Martha, and a mob attack on the home of the pedophile suspected of kidnapping nine-year-old David Angus. Meanwhile, down-and-out ex-con Andy Gunton finds dubious employment shipping cars for sleazy Lee Carter. The patient reader must wait until these subplots come together, but Hill's smooth and engrossing style creates riveting suspense as Serrailler and sidekick Nathan Coates pursue David's abductors through Lafferton's seediest areas to an astonishing conclusion. (Nov.)Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
A little boy is kidnapped while waiting for a ride to school in Hill's second mystery featuring Detective Inspector Simon Serailler (after The Various Haunts of Men) and his bucolic English cathedral town of Lafferton. Few leads exist. Crime reconstruction and interviews with local pedophiles, ex-cons, transients, and the boy's family turn up no clues. The community is gripped by fear, and the boy's family unravels. Simon's personal life is also turbulent-his institutionalized sister has suddenly died, his other sibling is about to give birth to her third child and her medical practice is suffering, and his sometime girlfriend is in desperate need of attention and stalking him. Simon is clearly not functioning at his best in the face of this truly baffling and tragic case. Thanks to Hill's deft prose, his character gains both depth and humanity. This novel showcases the author's exceptional skill at complex plot development and the creation of a community of thoroughly engaging and believable characters. Fans of English mysteries will be delighted. Strongly recommended.
Susan Clifford Braun
The disappearance of a small boy disorders the lives of many people. DCI Simon Serrailler (The Various Haunts of Man, 2007, etc.) is recalled from his Venetian sketching holiday by his father. His younger sister Martha, physically and mentally challenged from birth, is dying. Martha recovers only to die suddenly in her sleep, leaving Simon bereft. A triplet and a policeman in a family of doctors, he is slowly recovering from the murder of a young woman he may have loved. His attention shifts when a young boy goes missing while waiting for his ride to school. The whole force work night and day searching for a lead. Lack of progress and internal pressures cause the boy's father to commit suicide and leave his mother in a trance, alternating between rage and despair, while ignoring his older sister. Simon's beloved physician sister Cat has recently given birth. He finds her cozy home a haven of peace until she tackles him about his treatment of women after receiving a visit from the ex-lover who's stalking him, desperate to understand why Simon ended their affair. The stresses on artistic, introspective Simon, who's obviously modeled on Adam Dalgleish, mount as his team continues to search for the boy they fear is dead while pursuing their other cases. A gripping and unusual procedural focusing more on the characters' complex lives than the crimes. A must-read. Agent: Katherine Fausset/Curtis Brown
From the Publisher
“Not all great novelists can write crime fiction but when one like Susan Hill does it the result is stunning.”