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

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

by Susan Hill

Paperback

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Overview

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

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781590200278
Publisher: The Overlook Press
Publication date: 04/01/2008
Series: Simon Serrailler Series , #1
Pages: 448
Sales rank: 267,439
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.00(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Susan Hill is the author of the famous ghost story The Woman in Black, adapted as a major movie in 2012 starring Daniel Radcliffe, as well as five other acclaimed mysteries starring Simon Serrailler. She lives in Gloucestershire, England, where she runs her own small publishing company, Long Barn Books.

Reading Group Guide

1. Would you describe The Various Haunts of Men as a thriller, a mystery, a literary novel or some other genre? In what ways does this book use or confound the expectations of the crime genre?

2. How does the author build up a sense of the community and setting of Lafferton? How does this sense of place affect the crime plot? What are the roles of the other characters in the novel?

3. Discuss the character of Cat in detail. What do you think she contributes to the novel?

4. Consider the role of morality in The Various Haunts of Men. Look in particular at the religious and ethical beliefs of the different characters. Discuss the theme of belief in the novel.

5. Who is the hero of The Various Haunts of Men?

6. Discuss how the value of life is explored in the book.

7. Consider the structure of the novel. Look at how the author moves the focus of the story across the various characters — what do you think this achieves? Look particularly at how the passages narrated by the murderer are differentiated from the rest of the book. Which characters do you feel you know best by the end of the book?

Foreword

1. Would you describe The Various Haunts of Men as a thriller, a mystery, a literary novel or some other genre? In what ways does this book use or confound the expectations of the crime genre?

2. How does the author build up a sense of the community and setting of Lafferton? How does this sense of place affect the crime plot? What are the roles of the other characters in the novel?

3. Discuss the character of Cat in detail. What do you think she contributes to the novel?

4. Consider the role of morality in The Various Haunts of Men. Look in particular at the religious and ethical beliefs of the different characters. Discuss the theme of belief in the novel.

5. Who is the hero of The Various Haunts of Men?

6. Discuss how the value of life is explored in the book.

7. Consider the structure of the novel. Look at how the author moves the focus of the story across the various characters — what do you think this achieves? Look particularly at how the passages narrated by the murderer are differentiated from the rest of the book. Which characters do you feel you know best by the end of the book?

Customer Reviews

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The Various Haunts of Men (Simon Serrailler Series #1) 3.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
Justpeachy1 More than 1 year ago
My Synopsis: The Various Haunts of Men by Susan Hill (Simon Serrailer Mystery series - Book 1) British author, Susan Hill weaves a chilling story set in the small cathedral town of Lafferton. Filled with strange disappearances, the New Age movement and alternative medicine, The Various Haunts of Men will leave a lingering impression. Freya Graffham came to Lafferton seeking a new start, peace and quiet, a change from hustle and bustle of her London career as a police officer. But, when she meets Chief Inspector, Simon Serrailer she finds herself out of her element. His quiet demeanor and commanding presence seem to draw her in and she soon finds herself in love. Her mind is torn between Simon and a lonely woman, whose disappearance she is investigating. When others quickly begin to disappear, Freya fears that they may be linked. Will she and Simon explore the possibility of a relationship? Is Lafferton dealing with a serial killer or just an odd coincidence? My Thoughts: This was very intriguing book. It explored the idea of alternative medicine and how disciplines like acupuncture and complementary treatments can go hand in hand with regular medicine. The New Age movement with it's spiritual healers and "psychic" surgeons is definitely interesting. I liked the way Hill, was able to develop Freya Graffham's character and make the reader understand her motivation in not only moving to Lafferton but in her search for Angela Randall. She seemed to have some strange connection with this woman, that wouldn't let her file the case away as just another missing person. That's the kind of detective I would want! Hill was able to give the reader a glimpse into the tangled and warped mind of a serial killer through the taped confessional. It was chilling and as the name of the novel implies, haunting. The book started a little slow for me, but when it did pick up speed, it barreled to a startling conclusion that I certainly wasn't prepared for, but seemed only fitting.
pagese More than 1 year ago
This book had such potential, but fell flat in my opinion. The description makes the book sound like a mystery/thriller, but it's written more like a drama. It felt like it was extremely drawn out, and at times I was completely bored. I picked the killer out half way through the book, but never really understood why he killed. There wasn't much momentum through the book. The shocker at the end was completely unfulfilling. And why it's called a Simon Serrailler mystery is beyond men. You barely see the man throughout the book and by the end you know next to nothing about him.
terpOK More than 1 year ago
I purchased the book because I wanted a new series to read. I read her "Woman In Black" then started this one. I had trouble following it bouncing from person to person, sub-headings would have helped. I found it tedious and took too long for the threads to merge. I don't recommend reading this and probably won't continue the series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Outstanding. Tightly plotted, peopled with interesting characters, surorising ending.
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MARYOHVA More than 1 year ago
Well-written, taughtly-plotted
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was hard to follow the thread - everytime I had to put it down to answer the phone (or whatever), I had a hard time getting back into it - this is not one of my favorite books. Just didn't seem to progress smoothly - and Simon is hardly mentioned at all throughout the book