A Change of Circumstance (Simon Serrailler) by Susan Hill

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A Change of Circumstance (Simon Serrailler) by Susan Hill

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Category: Crime
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: It might be the eleventh in the series but it's still very fresh and up-to-date. Highly recommended.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 320/9h41m Date: October 2021
Publisher: Chatto & Windus
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1784742775

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Drugs hadn't really been that much of a problem in Lafferton and Detective Superintendent Simon Serrailler had thought of drugs ops as a bit of a waste of time. They still were, to a great extent, but Serrailler knew that something had to be done. Children as young as nine were being recruited to transport the drugs and the operation running the county lines was tight. A mule might know the name (although it probably wouldn't be the correct one) of the person who was running him but he certainly wouldn't know anything about those higher up in the organisation. The police might catch a few of the runners but they'd never get anywhere near those higher up.

This was how the Roper family became involved. Dad had custody of his four boys and he did his best to give them a decent life. He was a bouncer in a nightclub: they managed reasonably well on his income but they were never flush with money. Tommy, Connor and Alf had all caught the school bus but Brookie was struggling behind with all his stuff in a flimsy carrier bag - and missed the bus. That was when he met Fats, who gave him a lift back to the end of his street. The next time they met he gave him a new rucksack - and there was a phone inside. Then there was a fish and chip meal from all the boys when all they could have afforded was chips and scraps. Then came the pressure on Brookie to deliver packages.

Livvy was in her early teens and Fats had caught her too but now she wanted to get out. Fats wasn't having it though. If Liv didn't do as he says some of his friends would be enjoying her - if she understood what he meant. Added pressure was put on the CID team by the death of a heroin addict in a run-down flat over a Chinese pharmacy: he could only have been in his early twenties.

A Change of Circumstance would read well as a stand-alone but you will get more out of the books if you read them in sequence. The background of Serrailler's family life won't seem quite so convoluted. His sister, Cat Dearbon, is a doctor and she's now married to the chief constable, who is Serrailler's boss. They cope quite well with the conflict between family life and the working environment considering that Simon spends a lot of time with his sister. No woman has yet settled in his life - mainly because of the difficulties he encounters when they come into his private space.

The CID team has continuity too, although there's less ongoing story here, Serrailler once took DC Fern Monroe out to dinner and now can't bear to have any contact with her which makes working together difficult for them both.

It's a superb story and I'd have read it through in one sitting if I could have: I couldn't wait to see how it all worked out. Susan Hill's writing is superb, her plotting excellent and she creates characters who stay in your mind long after you've finished the book. I really can't wait for the next book in the series and I'd like to thank the publishers for making a copy available to the Bookbag.

For more crime associated with a cathedral city, you might like to try The Distant Dead by Lesley Thomson.

Susan Hill's Simon Serrailler Novels in Chronological Order

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