Simon Serrailler is faced with that most complicated of investigations - a cold case. Freak weather and flash floods all over southern England. Half of Lafferton is afloat. A landslip on the Moor has closed the bypass and, as the rain slowly drains away, a shallow grave - and a skeleton - are exposed. It doesn’t take long to identify the remains as those of the missing teenager, Harriet Lowther, last seen carrying a tennis racket while waiting for a bus. But that was 16 years ago.
How long will it take to trawl through the old, stale evidence and assess it anew?
©2011 Susan Hill (P)2014 Audible, Inc.
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"More than a crime novel"
Having read this series from the beginning, the characters are familiar and their
stories absorbing. Susan Hill uses them to explore the uncomfortable territory of
terminal illness, dementia and dying in a thought provoking and fair way. And woven
through this is a murder mystery. The book is an interesting, and satisfying listen, and
as with all this series, left me looking forward to the next instalment. I also find the
reader very competent. It is very pleasing that the same reader continues throughout the series.
"Detection spliced with moral issues"
I've followed this series of books and seen it go from strength to strength. It started as well-crafted and enjoyable detective stories but has developed into much more. This latest installment is not only a good detective story but is also a multi-layered novel that in an unforced manner explores the topical issue of assisted suicide v. palliative care and how relationships alter when one partner becomes mentally or physically incapable. Susan Hill deftly puts the various points of view and certainly made me think about these issues. DCI Serrailler is fine creation: he seems a real person with sensitive feelings who cares deeply about his work and whose relationships with his father and sister enrich the book.
Steven Pacey's narration is outstandingly good and added to my pleasure in this recording.
"Excellent crime writing"
The author manages to weave into the thread of the crime her obvious concern for terminal illness, health care, and euthanasia. Very skillfully worked, the crime novel in itself is convincing and well written, only revealing the perpetrators well towards the end of the book. And as for the reader, he is most excellent. I don't think it would be the same without him, I shall be looking for other "reads" with him, definitely.
"Not for the faint- hearted"
I have always enjoyed the Serrailler series and eagerly fall on a new publication. This had all the familiar and enjoyable characters and small town settings but it gives a whole new meaning to the phrase "old age is not for sissies". Dementia, Parkinson's, old peoples' homes and assisted dying are all looked at without sentimentality. Susan Hill writes well and I was absorbed and appalled in equal measure - but not entirely entertained.
"Something a bit different"
As this is the 6th book, I would recommend those new to this series to follow the series through from the beginning so you can understand and appreciate events in the lives of the Simon Serrailler and his close family, and the trials and tribulations they live through.
This book is not so much a murder mystery as a thought-provoking look into what it's like to deal with a life-changing illness and the consideration of assisted suicide. It is viewed both from the point of view of the sufferer, and in the case of dementia, from the viewpoint of those who must deal with it. It's different from other murder mysteries a compelling audiobook.
I rather think I dislike Simon Serailler. And I don't enjoy being lectured on dementia and MND - suffered by my mother and my mother-in-law. And the whodunit was unsatisfactory too. Shame.
"Excellent Series of Books."
Every book in this series has been excellent. Looking forward to listening to the next two.
The back story is as good as the main plot - very well written with excellent narration.
"Weakest of the Series"
Whilst I love the continuing series; the Serailler family, the continuity of the children growing up, life's events etc, this book felt unsatisfying. I felt that the romance was thin, not described with any depth. Should Simon not have been more conflicted given his previous moral stances? The outcome of the whodunit was deeply unbelievable.
I would only recommend this book because the rest of the series has been so good. I hope the next one will revert to excellence! I will be so disappointed if the decline continues.
I love Steven Pacey's performance, he is measured as Serailler, gruff as Simon's Father, and pretty good at the women on the whole. Tiny criticism is that he can make women sound rather prissy sometimes, but that's nit-picking. I would look for other books read by him.
Has anyone else noticed a howling mistake? In the previous book, Cat is told by Richard Serailler, her Father, that her mother had injected her now dead sister with potassium as a mercy killing. Nowhere to my recollection has Simon been told this.
In The Betrayal of Trust, Simon now knows, and inadvertently tells Cat, who is shocked and surprised.
Unless this is to be explained in further books, this is a major mistake and poor editing, Simon's reaction to this is not explored which given the obsession in the book with assisted suicide / death and his job is surprising at the very least.
"Enjoyed re-visiting the series on Audible"
I had read all the books in the series some time ago, but this did not spoil my enjoyment of hearing them read on Audible. The narrator is particularly good. I understand there is another book due out this year so hope it will be on Audible too.
I can't get enough of Simon Serrailler and his family. I enjoy finding out who committed the murders but I mostly look forward to being a "part" of the Serrailler family. A good read and difficult to press stop...
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