A Question of Identity: Simon Serrailler Book 7

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A Question of Identity: Simon Serrailler Book 7 by Susan Hill

Category: Crime
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: Not quite witness protection - more 'we knew you were guilty but you got off and now you need protecting from the public'. What happens when someone like that goes wrong again?
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 384/10h31m Date: September 2013
Publisher: Vintage
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-0099554875

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Many years ago, quite a long way away from Lafferton, a man called Alan Keyes committed three murders, only a witness was confused when she came to court and Keyes got off. Everyone knew that he was guilty, but the prosecution hadn't made the case well enough. His modus operandi was unique and quite a lot of information never moved into the public domain. Then one snowy night in Lafferton an elderly lady was murdered. The CID team expected a delay before there would be any repetition, but unbelievably quickly there's another one, exactly the same and in the same sheltered housing complex. The pressure's on DSI Simon Serrailler to come up with the murderer. Neither the public at large nor the relatives feel that enough is being done either to protect old people or to catch the killer.

It takes a while before Serraille makes the connection with Alan Keyes, but Keyes doesn't exist any more. After the botched trial he couldn't be held in custody, but nor could he be released: a lynch mob would have done what justice couldn't do and a different-looking man with a new name and background went to start his life elsewhere. It might sound simple - the investigator should be able to contact the people who arranged the new identity and bring the man in for questioning, only it doesn't work like that. The information is simply not available. Serrailler and his team have to work it out for themselves.

The DSI's private life is usually troublesome but this time he is genuinely in love with Rachel. Only, as always, there's a problem. Rachel is married and her husband is in the final stages of Parkinson's. He's given his blessing to the relationship with Simon, but if Simon doesn't feel guilt, Rachel certainly does. Simon's sister, Dr Cat Deerbon is struggling with being a widow: it's now that she's really missing Chris as the children grow up and having to deal with two teenagers weighs heavily on her shoulders. Normally I prefer my police procedurals to be unadulterated by the detective's private life, but I'll confess that I'm quite hooked on the Serrailler family saga.

I have read some of the books out of order, but having got to the end of the series (this is the penultimate - I've read the last one already) I'm conscious that I've got more out of the books by reading them in chronological order. Each reads well as a standalone - this is Susan Hill after all - but there's a bonus to be had if you get the order right.

Rather than reading the book I listened to an audio download (which I bought myself) narrated by Steven Pacey. He's superb and the voices are consistent throughout the series. His range of voices is excellent as is the control - one never bleeds into another and he's a narrator I'd be happy to listen to again.

For more crime which we've enjoyed recently, have a look at Secrets of Death (Cooper and Fry) by Stephen Booth. Audio downloads are available for this series too.

Buy A Question of Identity: Simon Serrailler Book 7 at Amazon You could get a free audio download of A Question of Identity: Simon Serrailler Book 7 with a 30-day Audible free trial at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy A Question of Identity: Simon Serrailler Book 7 at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy A Question of Identity: Simon Serrailler Book 7 at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy A Question of Identity: Simon Serrailler Book 7 at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy A Question of Identity: Simon Serrailler Book 7 at Amazon.com.


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