The Pure In Heart: Simon Serrailler Book 2 by Susan Hill

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The Pure In Heart: Simon Serrailler Book 2 by Susan Hill

Category: Crime
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: A haunting tale of the search for a missing boy and the repercussions of his disappearance. Highly recommended.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 528/ 11h37m Date: September 2009
Publisher: Vintage
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-0099534990

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The first three books in the Simon Serrailler series must be read in order if you are to get the best from them. If you haven't read the first book you'd do well not to read any further in this review as spoilers are inevitable. Sorry!

It's a year since the dramatic happenings we read about in The Various Haunts Of Men and unusually for DCI Simon Serrailler he's still troubled by the loss of Freya Graffham. Although their relationship never had chance to develop Simon is deeply aware that it could have done, but is this valid? Or would Simon have backed off as soon as Freya got close to him, as he has done with every woman he's been in a relationship with? It's unanswerable, of course, but Simon is glad to be in Venice: drawing, reading and relaxing. Then his father rings him: if he wants to see his sister alive he had better come home immediately.

Martha Serrailler was born severely handicapped and there are those who feel that she has no quality of life: she can't talk and communication is limited. Her father has openly said that she should have died, but Simon loves her deeply and is happy to spend time sitting with - and chatting to - her, regardless of whether or not she can understand. His time is not going to be his own for long though - a nine-year-old boy, David Angus, is snatched from outside his home as he waits for his lift to school. It's a case which will stretch the CID team and David's family to - and beyond - their limits.

It's not all that's going on though. Andy Grunton has just been released from prison: he's now trained as a market gardener and is determined to stay clean and make a decent life for himself. But what do you do when there are no jobs available, when there's nowhere to live but with your rather unpleasant sister? Could the offer of work (which needs to be done in the early hours of the morning) be legitimate, but how can you turn it down when you desperately need the money?

I finished the book yesterday, but the characters are still vivid in my mind: I can't help but wonder how they're getting on. Susan Hill's characterisation is masterful. She also brings out the frustrations of the family and the police when there's little (well 'no' would be more accurate) progress in the search for the young boy. Everyone suffers, each in their different ways. The writing is superb.

The book does end on something of a cliffhanger: you'll want to go on and read the next book (I've bought my download already!). It would be possible to read The Pure in Heart as a standalone, but you'll get more from it if you've read the first book in the series and are happy to go on to the next.

I listened to an audio download (which I bought) narrated by Steven Pacey. He's excellent, with a good range of voices which never bleed into each other. There's also continuity of voices from The Various Haunts Of Men which was pleasing. I'm always impressed by Pacey's female voices, so often the downfall of male narrators: The Pure in Heart is demanding in this respect as there are a good number of well-educated women characters who demand rather more than the 'girly' voices to which many men resort. He's rapidly becoming one of my favourite narrators.

Another police procedural available as an audio download is The Murder Road (Cooper and Fry) by Stephen Booth.

Susan Hill's Simon Serrailler Novels in Chronological Order

Buy The Pure In Heart: Simon Serrailler Book 2 by Susan Hill at Amazon You could get a free audio download of The Pure In Heart: Simon Serrailler Book 2 by Susan Hill with a 30-day Audible free trial at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy The Pure In Heart: Simon Serrailler Book 2 by Susan Hill at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Pure In Heart: Simon Serrailler Book 2 by Susan Hill at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy The Pure In Heart: Simon Serrailler Book 2 by Susan Hill at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Pure In Heart: Simon Serrailler Book 2 by Susan Hill at Amazon.com.


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