The Benefit of Hindsight (Simon Serrailler) by Susan Hill
|The Benefit of Hindsight (Simon Serrailler) by Susan Hill|
|Reviewer: Sue Magee|
|Summary: Book ten in one of the best series around at the moment - and it's a cracker. Just keep your fingers crossed that it's going to continue.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 304||Date: October 2019|
|Publisher: Chatto & Windus|
|External links: Author's website|
A superficial look would suggest to you that Simon Serrailer has been lucky and - all things considered - his life is as good as it could be. He's back at work after a long break to recuperate from the violent incident which cost him his arm and almost his life. When he's not at work he's spending his time in the cathedral roof drawing the medieval angels which are being restored. There's talk of an exhibition of his drawings. Lafferton seems to be quite settled as far as crime is concerned until one night when two local men open their front door to a couple seeking shelter. It's the usual story of a broken-down car, and a phone which won't make a call. The man are generous and welcoming and have no suspicions that the couple are simply there to plan a robbery. It's a serious error of judgement in the course of this investigation which will throw Simon Serrailler's future into doubt.
Simon's sister, Cat, a GP, has gone over to the dark side and is now working for a private organisation, giving her time to spend with her patients as well as having more of a private life, but it doesn't stop her being worried about the lives of those in her care, no matter how strange their lives may be. Simon and Cat's father has returned to Lafferton to live in a retirement community. The address might have changed but Dr Richard Serrailler hasn't learned from past mistakes. And Simon Serrailler has his own demons to challenge him. Life isn't as simple or as good as it looks on the surface.
Simon's changed in subtle ways. Outwardly he's still the elegant, sophisticated man we've always known, still as attractive to women but now he's just a little less considerate of their feelings, rather more likely to look at the situation purely from his own point of view. He's harsher than he might have been when a subordinate steps out of line and he's still coming to terms with his prosthesis. Despite everything you still want life to work out for him.
The plot is superb. There's not a moment when you think that something is unlikely and wouldn't have happened that way: there are a lot more occasions when something goes wrong and you know that it could so easily have happened to you. It's a book to start when you have time to spare as you're not readily going to put it down until you get to the last page and then you're going to waste time wishing that it had gone on for longer. I read it in just over a day and I'm still thinking about the characters days later.
I'd like to thank the publishers for making a copy of the book available to the Bookbag. If you haven't read any of the earlier books in the series you might get more out of The Benefit of Hindsight if you have one or more under you belt. You could start at the beginning and give yourself a real treat. If you're up to date with all that's happening in Lafferton have a look at anything by Paula Daly, who'll transport you to the Lake District or Stuart MacBride for a taste of Aberdeen.
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