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The Pure in Heart (Simon Serrailler Series #2)

The Pure in Heart (Simon Serrailler Series #2)

3.6 8
by Susan Hill

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The Pure in Heart continues the story of Simon Serrailler, the Detective Chief Inspector to whom readers were introduced in The Various Haunts of Men. Simon is on vacation in Venice, trying to come to terms with the brutal murder of a young woman who had been in love with him. But soon a telephone call summons him home.
A little boy is snatched as he stands with


The Pure in Heart continues the story of Simon Serrailler, the Detective Chief Inspector to whom readers were introduced in The Various Haunts of Men. Simon is on vacation in Venice, trying to come to terms with the brutal murder of a young woman who had been in love with him. But soon a telephone call summons him home.
A little boy is snatched as he stands with his satchel at the gate of his home, waiting for his lift to school. A severely handicapped young woman hovers between life and death. And an ex-con finds it impossible to go straight. The Pure in Heart is a crime novel arising from character and circumstances, about the psychology of crime, something more enthralling than plain thrillers or whodunits. In Lafferton, Serrailler's town, Susan Hill has brilliantly created a community with detail so sharp and true to life that readers feel that these people are their own neighbors and friends. But there is terror and evil in their very midst. There are no easy answers in The Pure of Heart, a magnificent novel about the realities of police work and the sometimes desperate humanity of family. Haunting and truthful, gripping and convincing, it is a thrilling achievement.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

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
Library Journal

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

Kirkus Reviews
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.”
—Ruth Rendell

Product Details

Random House UK
Publication date:
Simon Serrailler Series , #2
Product dimensions:
6.37(w) x 9.50(h) x 1.31(d)

Meet the Author

Susan Hill’s novels and short stories have won the Whitbread, Somerset Maugham, and John Llewellyn Rhys awards, and the Yorkshire Post Book of the Year, and been shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. She is the author of fifty-six books. The play adapted from her famous ghost story, The Woman in Black, has been running in the West End since 1989; it is also a major feature film starring Daniel Radcliffe. Her crime novels featuring DCS Simon Serrailler are currently being adapted for TV.

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The Pure in Heart (Simon Serrailler Series #2) 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I discovered this through Barnes a Noble. They got me her books through Canada as she is sold in the UK. This book is great on all levels, as a police procedural, mystery, family involved with the central character, and as a great novel. This is an outstanding writer.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This second book in the series was quite good. We learn more about Serrailler. I have read all the books in this series and have enjoyed them for the most part. There are some repetitive themes. There are also some inconsistencies (mistakes?) as characters go from one book to the next. For instance, a character has ovarian cancer in one book, but in the next book it has turns into breast cancer. Also, in one book a character is told about a pivotal event, only to hear it for the first time in the next book. But all in all, a good read for someone hooked on Brit. police procedural, mystery books.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The first of Susan Hill's mystery series that I have read and I have to say I'm a little ambivalent about it. One would think that the case around which the novel is built would provide a strong central theme, but in Hill's hands, the action takes a distant second place to her characters' personal lives. Her characters are beautifully developed and sharply drawn, but while I appreciated her skill, I found that I really didn't care enough about them to be more than mildly interested in their lives. And yet I kept reading.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have now read two of Susan Hill's books featuring Simon Serrailler as the lead character. I found the second in the series just as engrossing as the first book. She creates characters that are both believable as well as interesting and the story line, in this case, a mystery, has the reader constantly trying to figure out where the story is leading.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Enjoyed this book and the main character. I especially liked the ending (often not the best part of the book). Will read more by Susan Hill.