The Various Haunts Of Men: Simon Serrailler Book 1 by Susan Hill

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The Various Haunts Of Men: Simon Serrailler Book 1 by Susan Hill

Category: Crime
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: The first book in the Simon Serrailler series is a stunner. I read it out of order and I'm glad that I took the trouble to go back and read. Highly recommended: a good plot and excellent writing.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 576/14h 43m Date: September 2009
Publisher: Vintage
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-0099534983

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There's an area just outside the centre of Lafferton known as 'the Hill', renowned for its peace, quiet and tranquility. It's frequented by dog walkers, runners and people who just value the atmosphere, but it was here that the first woman went missing, although no one could be certain that was what had happened as she'd kept herself to herself. The second woman had been much younger and it could only be guessed at that she'd gone missing on the hill as her flat mate hadn't seen her that day and didn't know that in her quest to improve her life she'd set out for a walk in the early morning. It was a while before anyone associated the fate of the women with the young man who'd gone missing in similar circumstances and everyone, DCI Simon Serrailler included, was inclined to dismiss the disappearance of the small brown dog.

DS Freya Graffham had just moved to Lafferton from the Met following the breakup of her brief marriage: she loved it and was happy in her little cottage. The work was good too and there was only one cloud on the horizon: she was smitten with DCI Serrailler and rather resented the fact. Her DC warned her that she was barking up the wrong tree: but it wasn't that he was gay, it was that he had a reputation for breaking hearts. But Freya was quickly welcomed into Lafferton society and made friends with Serrailler's sister, Dr Cat Deerbon.

There's another area just outside Lafferton which had become a centre for alternative medicine and whilst Cat Deerbon and her fellow doctors welcome some alternative practitioners - such as the acupuncturist and the osteopath - they were keen to see some of the others, such as the 'psychic surgeon', put out of business, whilst recognising that desperate people will turn to anyone they think might help.

I've done something with The Various Haunts of Men which I usually try and avoid: having read later books in the series, I've come back and read the first. Such books are usually disappointing but I'm glad I made an exception. Susan Hill's introduction to Lafferton is superb - I felt at home there - and I warmed to the CID team, particularly Freya Graffham. The plot lines are handled - juggled might be a better word - quite superbly and I was stunned by the outcome despite the fact that we know the name of the murderer about four-fifths of the way through the book. Far from spoiling the tension, it heightened it.

I didn't read the book but listened to an audio download (which I bought myself) narrated by Steven Pacey. I was impressed. With male narrators the female voices are often their downfall, but Pacey was convincing with both the male and the female voices and had a good range of regional accents. The fourteen and three-quarter hours of the recording passed all too quickly and I've already bought a download of the next book in the series.

If this book appeals and you're looking for another audio download we can recommend The Glass Room (D I Vera Stanhope) by Ann Cleeves.

Susan Hill's Simon Serrailler Novels in Chronological Order

Buy The Various Haunts Of Men: Simon Serrailler Book 1 by Susan Hill at Amazon You could get a free audio download of The Various Haunts Of Men: Simon Serrailler Book 1 by Susan Hill with a 30-day Audible free trial at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy The Various Haunts Of Men: Simon Serrailler Book 1 by Susan Hill at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Various Haunts Of Men: Simon Serrailler Book 1 by Susan Hill at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy The Various Haunts Of Men: Simon Serrailler Book 1 by Susan Hill at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Various Haunts Of Men: Simon Serrailler Book 1 by Susan Hill at Amazon.com.


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