I have been reading some Simon Serrailler books recently so I thought they may as well come together in one post!
Revenge – a Simon Serrailler short story
A new Simon Serrailler short story from Susan Hill, throwing Simon into a case like no other: an effigy is hanging in the woods, and soldiers are on the run from demons in their past
Simon Serrailler is awoken into a hazy dawn by the sharp ringing of his phone. Called out to the scene, he’s told that there’s a body strung up in tranquil Harnham Woods. But on closer inspection it’s an effigy – a carefully made dummy, stirring in the breeze. Simon knows that this is no practical joke. It’s a message.
The gruesome result of the search will show that he was right. And the trail will lead him into a dark history of deceit, subterfuge and the damaged lives of soldiers recently returned from Afghanistan. But the question remains: who has finally got their revenge?
This short actually came out between #9 and #10 of the series, my thoughts can be read below for those books, it is rather an aside to the ongoing Serrailler series so I’m just giving a short comment first.
Although Revenge is a Simon Serrailler story it is not required reading for the series. However, it is a fairly enjoyable short story albeit – as is often the way with short stories – with a rather abrupt ending.
My review of Old Haunts a Simon Serrailler short story from Susan Hill.
The Comforts of Home – Simon Serrailler (#9)
DC Simon Serrailler’s devastating last case was nearly the death of him.
Recovering on a remote Scottish island, his peace doesn’t last long. When a woman’s body is washed ashore, Simon is pulled in to a murder inquiry by the overstretched local police who are desperate for help.
It’s good to be back on the job.
But when Simon returns to Lafferton, an arsonist is on the rampage and a woman whose daughter disappeared some years before, is haunting the police station seeking closure. She will not let it rest, and Simon is called in to do a cold-case review. And it’s when the cold case is reopened that things start to get dangerous…
I remember reading that The Soul of Discretion the 8th book in the series was to be the last. I was saddened by the news at the time. After reading it I was left feeling that it was not complete. There were too many loose ends. Not with the investigation theme of the plot but with the characters. And yet it was to be the last of the series!
So, how wonderful it was to hear that there were to be more books!
And now we have The Comforts of Home 9th in the series. In it Simon has taken himself of to a Scottish island, somewhere he had been to before, to recover from his last case. He is nursing not just physical but mental injuries. However, not long after he arrives a body is found and Simon is drawn into the inquiry. In some ways it’s just what he needs but it’s a tricky investigation as the islanders are close knit and wary. Even though Simon has visit before he is still really an outsider.
Once his involvement in that investigation is over he decides to return to Lafferton. Back to work and Simon is onto a cold case.
Now we are back! Hooked into what will, as always, be an engrossing read from Susan Hill. Back not only with Simon the policeman, the boss, the DCI but with Simon the brother, the son, the uncle, the man. Because it is this which is as important as the investigations that keeps the avid reader of the Serrailler Series coming back.
It is to these characters – friends, family and colleagues – that we have returned and I for one am delighted.
A well written, well plotted and compelling story. A multilayered story where a damaged human is striving for answers for himself as much as for the two investigations he gets involved with.
Buy: AmazonSmileUK | The paperback of Susan Hill’s ninth Serrailler novel was published in March 2019, but you can order a signed copy Direct from Susan Hill for a special price of £5.50, including post and packing. (Correct at time of posting this blog)
The Benefit of Hindsight – Simon Serrailler (#10)
In this, the tenth Simon Serrailler crime novel, Simon must engage with his own demons as Lafferton struggles to cope with a series of crimes that threaten the sanctity of hearth and home.
On the face of it DC Simon Serrailler has had time to recuperate after the violent incident that cost him his arm, and nearly his life. He is back in harness at Lafferton CID, but is spending his spare time high up in the cathedral roof, making drawings of the medieval angels which are being restored.
Lafferton is going through a quiet patch, so far as crime is concerned, until one rainy night two local men open their front door to a couple seeking shelter. A serious error of judgement in the investigation puts Simon’s reputation on the line and calls into question how full his recovery has really been.
In her new role as a private GP, Simon’s sister Cat’s medical and counselling skills are tested by terrible and unexpected events at the homes of two very different Lafferton women. Simon and Cat’s unreliable father, Richard, has returned to live nearby, in a luxury apartment for the well-heeled over 60s. He’s soon up to his usual tricks.
Another very satisfying read from Susan Hill in this very enjoyable tenth book in the series.
We have the now usual mix of family and work again in the storyline which Susan Hill manages to combine into a compelling and absorbing read. Indeed, Cat (Simon’s sister) has a strong part in one thread of this book. Meanwhile Simon, who had seemingly recovered from the devastating incident in book 8, is having panic attacks.
It’s pretty quiet in Lafferton as the book opens so Simon is taking some time off to work on sketches in the Cathedral. Still he is back working and when there is a burglary Simon begins an investigation. He makes a decision which is, with the benefit of hindsight, a big mistake. There are consequences for Simon and it’s the Chief Constable (and Simon’s brother-in-law) Kieron Bright who takes Simon to task over it.
Simon and Cat’s father is also back in Lafferton, not the nicest of people to say the least, he is taken ill and admitted to hospital.
Sam, Cat’s son, is working as a porter in the hospital while he decide what he wants to do.
Oh and then there’s Mephisto, the cat, I don’t doubt that a tear or two maybe shed over this particular strand of the story!
So, yes, plenty of family in this book but still plenty of crime investigation to keep you hooked. All brought together into a satisfying and engrossing read. Still lot’s of ongoing themes which will, no doubt – hopefully, beckon another book soon.
Whilst I purchased both Revenge and The Comforts of Home I was delighted to receive an eCopy of The Benefit of Hindsight to read and review from Vintage via NetGalley. I have ordered a signed copy from the author – see the link below – can’t wait to get it and add to the collection.
Paperback out – 16 Jul 2020
Buy: Purchase Direct from Susan Hill : signed hardback £8.00| AmazonSmileUK | Your local bookshop | HiveUK
Publisher: Simon Serrailler Series by Susan Hill is published by Vintage part of Penguin/Random House UK
Susan Hill has been a professional writer for over fifty years. Her books have won awards and prizes including the Whitbread, the John Llewellyn Rhys and the Somerset Maugham; and have been shortlisted for the Booker. She was awarded a CBE in the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Honours. Her novels include Strange Meeting, I’m the King of the Castle, In the Springtime of the Year and A Kind Man. She has also published autobiographical works and collections of short stories as well as the Simon Serrailler series of crime novels. The play of her ghost story The Woman in Black has been running in London’s West End since 1988. She has two adult daughters and lives in North Norfolk.
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