The Various Haunts of Men (Simon Serrailler Series #1)

The Various Haunts of Men (Simon Serrailler Series #1)

3.4 7
by Susan Hill
     
 

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When Susan Hill first introduced us to the city of Lafferton, to its meticulously crafted cast of characters, and to its chief police inspector Simon Serrailler, readers went wild. When it was released in hardcover, The Various Haunts of Men was named a BookSense Pick and was immediately on the must-read list of every mystery fan. Now out in paperback, Hill's

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Overview

When Susan Hill first introduced us to the city of Lafferton, to its meticulously crafted cast of characters, and to its chief police inspector Simon Serrailler, readers went wild. When it was released in hardcover, The Various Haunts of Men was named a BookSense Pick and was immediately on the must-read list of every mystery fan. Now out in paperback, Hill's intricate and pulse-pounding novel will reach an even wider audience.
As the story begins, a lonely woman vanishes while out on her morning run. Then a 22-year-old girl never returns from a walk. An old man disappears too. When fresh-faced policewoman Freya Graffham is assigned to the case, she runs the risk of getting too invested—too involved—in the action. Alongside the enigmatic detective Chief Inspector Simon Serrallier, she must unravel the mystery before events turn too gruesome. Written with intelligence, compassion, and a knowing eye—in the tradition of the fabulous mysteries of Ruth Rendell and P.D. James—The Various Haunts of Men is an enthralling journey into the heart of a wonderfully developed town, and into the very mind of a killer.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Weaving together a variety of subtly interrelated narratives, British author Hill (Air and Angels) embeds a thoughtful reflection on alternative medicine into a taut and suspenseful mystery, the first of a new crime series featuring Chief Insp. Simon Serrailler. Having transferred to the small cathedral town of Lafferton from London's "Met," police detective Freya Graffham explores her new community and becomes fascinated by Serrailler, her enigmatic superior. Though she fits well within the local police force, she finds herself unable to let go what seems like a routine missing persons report on a middle-aged spinster. When yet more townspeople turn up missing, her hunch is verified and a serious police search begins, bringing her into closer proximity with Serrailler at the same time it exposes her to danger. A dark but entirely convincing ending may startle some readers, but Hill's fine writing and nuanced insight into human nature should appeal to fans of such masters of the psychological thriller as P.D. James, Elizabeth George and Ruth Rendell, who provides a blurb. (Apr.)

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Library Journal
Lafferton, an idyllic village just far enough from the madness of London, is a paragon of tranquility and peace, with a lovely cathedral and a stand of ancient stones on "the Hill." But then a woman goes missing from there, and then another, and another. Young policewoman Freya Graffham is assigned to investigate the suspected serial killings. Recently transferred from London, she is young, bright, inquisitive, dedicated, and smitten with Detective Chief Inspector Simon Serrailler, although her new friends warn her that he's enigmatic, withdrawn, and withholding of both affection and commitment. As their relationship and the investigation unfold, the killer is revealed in a series of eerie first-person passages. He is close to both Simon and Freya—and getting closer. This is the first of Whitbread Award the winner Hill's three Simon Serrailler mysteries (following Pure in Heartand Risk of Darkness) to be published in the United States after receiving high praise in Britain. Hill is a master storyteller with real talent for building atmosphere and suspense. Readers will be instantly drawn to her likable characters and beautiful landscape and will be carried along by the plot, right up to the shocking final twist. Fans of British mysteries will love this new series and Simon Serrailler as well. Highly recommended.
—Susan Clifford Braun
Kirkus Reviews
Whatever you do, don't go clumping up the Hill. At first, nobody thought much about Angela Randall's disappearance, though it was odd that this prim, conscientious, middle-aged job-holder would simply leave without a word. But Sgt. Freya Graffham, new to the Lafferton CID, has a bad feeling and decides to investigate the case with some help from DC Nathan Coates. They make few inroads until a pudgy young girl goes missing, too. The vanished don't seem to have much in common except for outings on the Hill and hints of depression that had driven them to alternate-therapy practitioners. Another woman, trying to deal with a life-threatening cancer, has also turned to the fringe element to deal with her problem. Freya and Nathan, now under auspices of the enigmatic but dishy Chief Inspector Simon Serrailler, must separate do-gooders from charlatans ranging from an acupuncturist to a spiritualist to a psychic surgeon (don't ask). The suspense builds, climaxing with another death, then plummeting with the denouement, which is nowhere near as gripping as the road leading to it. Freya's love obsession is a bit over the top, Simon is in need of serious fleshing-out, and surely it's old-hat to deride New Agers, incense, herbs and vegans. All in all, an inauspicious series beginning from an author (The Risk of Darkness, 2006, etc.) once short-listed for the Booker Prize. Agent: Anne Borchardt/Georges Borchardt Inc.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780099534983
Publisher:
Random House UK
Publication date:
02/23/2010
Series:
Simon Serrailler Series, #1
Pages:
576
Product dimensions:
5.08(w) x 7.76(h) x 1.34(d)

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