We are currently making improvements to the Audible site. In an effort to enhance the accessibility experience for our customers, we have created a page to more easily navigate the new experience, available at the web address www.audible.com/access.
The Various Haunts of Men: A Simon Serrailler Mystery, Book 1 | [Susan Hill]

The Various Haunts of Men: A Simon Serrailler Mystery, Book 1

A woman vanishes in the fog up on "the Hill", an area locally known for its tranquility and peace. The police are not alarmed; people usually disappear for their own reasons. But when a young girl, an old man, and even a dog disappear, no one can deny that something untoward is happening in this quiet town. Young policewoman Freya Graffham is assigned to the case; she's new to the job, compassionate, inquisitive, and dedicated to the task of unraveling the mystery behind this gruesome sequence of events.
Regular Price:$20.97
  • Membership Details:
    • First book free with 30-day trial
    • $14.95/month thereafter for your choice of 1 new book each month
    • Cancel easily anytime
    • Exchange books you don't like
    • All selected books are yours to keep, even if you cancel
  • - or -

Your Likes make Audible better!

'Likes' are shared on Facebook and Audible.com. We use your 'likes' to improve Audible.com for all our listeners.

You can turn off Audible.com sharing from your Account Details page.

OK

Publisher's Summary

A woman vanishes in the fog up on "the Hill", an area locally known for its tranquility and peace. The police are not alarmed; people usually disappear for their own reasons. But when a young girl, an old man, and even a dog disappear, no one can deny that something untoward is happening in this quiet town.

Young policewoman Freya Graffham is assigned to the case; she's new to the job, compassionate, inquisitive, and dedicated. She and the enigmatic detective Chief Inspector Simon Serrailler have the task of unraveling the mystery behind this gruesome sequence of events.

©2004 Susan Hill (P)2011 AudioGo

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.8 (262 )
5 star
 (77)
4 star
 (96)
3 star
 (56)
2 star
 (23)
1 star
 (10)
Overall
3.8 (220 )
5 star
 (65)
4 star
 (79)
3 star
 (49)
2 star
 (17)
1 star
 (10)
Story
4.2 (222 )
5 star
 (103)
4 star
 (74)
3 star
 (31)
2 star
 (10)
1 star
 (4)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    karen United States 06-12-11
    karen United States 06-12-11 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
    840
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    166
    138
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    180
    0
    Overall
    "Best of the best...."

    One of my favorite series of all times, these books by Susan Hill featuring the enigmatic Simon Serrailler, the non-doctor, third-of-a-set-of-triplets, contemplative sort of police detective who outdoes Adam Dagleish every time. "The Various Haunts of Men" is the first in the series, and while not exactly required to read or listen to them in order, it helps.

    This book has everything -- story, fascinating and complex chatacters, family issues, a baffling crime (ie series of crimes), plenty of tension and maybe most importantly, a whole string of people you come to care about, many of whom continue into subsequent books.

    Susan Hill is remarkable. No one creates characters like she does, and no one spins original stories with more veracity. These are people you know, with all their strengths and faults, their hidden sins and unexpected virtues.

    Steven Pacey's narration is perfect -- just the right pace and tone.

    The only real problem with these books is pacing yourself -- there aren't that many, and you can only read them for the first time once.

    26 of 26 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Karen Portland, OR, United States 03-17-12
    Karen Portland, OR, United States 03-17-12 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    47
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    60
    30
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    4
    4
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Move over, Ruth Rendell and Elizabeth George"

    As an enthusiastic reader of British police procedurals, I was so pleased to find and thoroughly enjoy Book 1 of this series. Because Susan Hill is such a fine writer, it is more than a mere police procedural, however, and could be promoted to the category of fictional literature. I know that it is not everyone's cup of tea: the book is somewhat dark, and it does not follow a prescribed formula that we are accustomed to in books of this type.

    The book tells a story of a series of puzzling disappearances in a fictional English cathedral town. Simon Serrailer is not convinced that they are connected, and it takes a detective sergeant working under him to convince him. The story does not proceed exactly as expected, and the author uses a number of unusual devices to help us get to know the characters better.

    If you are a fan of "cozies" (and I enjoy a cozy myself now and again), then you might not like this book - I can see that it has received some unfavorable reviews. The ending is somewhat bleak, and yet I applaud the author for making this book realistic and eschewing the traditional happy ending.

    There are a raft of characters, some of whom we can expect to find in additional books of this series, I hope. Simon Serrailer is an intriguing protagonist, and I hope to learn more about him and his family. I am downloading Book 2 as I write this, and look forward to reading the rest of the series.

    13 of 13 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cidney New Orleans, United States Minor Outlying Islands 03-12-12
    Cidney New Orleans, United States Minor Outlying Islands 03-12-12 Member Since 2006

    Reader. Wannabe writer. That's a picture of me standing in line to see Stephen King!

    HELPFUL VOTES
    223
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    431
    31
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    30
    4
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Missing Loose Ends? Got 'em Right Here!"

    Men and women of various ages and one dog go missing without a trace in this small, quirky town. There's the good doctor concerned about the growing population of alternative medicine practitioners in her community, and there's the good cop concerned about the shrinking general population of her community. These concerns meet and merge and evolve into a pretty good murder mystery. Hill sets up her red herrings very nicely, and there is a surprising death toward the end, but near all of her back and side stories are left dangling!

    We learn things about characters that imply there's more to come, there's more to learn about this person, but Hill leaves us unsatisfied, and without any hint that we will get what we want in later books. I can only imagine that she did this purposefully and these characters reappear in other stories. I'm going to fall for it this time and get book two, but this is Hill's last and only chance!

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Susan L. Stewart Commerce, TX 07-16-12
    Susan L. Stewart Commerce, TX 07-16-12 Member Since 2005

    House of Books

    HELPFUL VOTES
    35
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    48
    14
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    15
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Didn't See It Coming!"

    Wow. Lots of turns and twists in this novel. While I frequently don't solve the mystery--the whodunnit--before the denouement, I usually have a sense of everything. I wasn't prepared for the conclusion of this one. Again, wow! Granted, there are several red herrings, as there should be in a good mystery, but they serve a purpose by providing several parallels and perspectives. They require that readers consider various options, what they would be willing to do in some circumstances, and how far they would go to find answers and cures. Mystery novels function on several levels: they offer what probably happened, what could happen, what couldn't happen, and then what actually happened. Seldom is a police investigation straightforward. Nothing is straightforward here, which is as it should be. I will read other novels by Susan Hill. Looking for them now . . .

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Librarian OK, USA 06-02-13
    Librarian OK, USA 06-02-13 Member Since 2012

    Retired "Okie" librarian & happy to have found Audible for good stories & staying in touch with new authors & books.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    70
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    151
    57
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    17
    5
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A Really Good Find!"

    I am lucky to have found this author & started listening with this first in series. A good English mystery on the modern psychological thriller side, but no overt sex or violence. It is modern in the sense it looks at motives and different points of view. It brings British social life and issues into the mix. It was a good intelligent listen and then it ramped up into a real shocking thriller! Now teased into wanting to hear more of the lives of these police, family, and friends I have already bought more Hill's, Serrailler mysteries.

    Pacey is excellent! His voice changes makes keeping the characters straight easier, builds the suspense, & is not distracting. I highly recommend this book.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sharon Hood River, OR, United States 11-09-11
    Sharon Hood River, OR, United States 11-09-11 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    83
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    27
    27
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    2
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Excellent craftsmanship, horribly bleak story"

    Susan Hill and Steven Pacey are both unarguably accomplished at what they do. However, while I admire the way Ms Hill writes, I don't admire what she writes. I began feeling depressed long before I reached the depressing ending of this book, and had already made up my mind that this was my first and last foray into the works of Ms Hill, when - with a sad sigh of relief - I finished it.

    11 of 14 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Marie ALEXANDRIA, VA, United States 12-06-13
    Marie ALEXANDRIA, VA, United States 12-06-13 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    299
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    186
    113
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    33
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Why exactly is this a Simon Serrailler Mystery?"

    While the author is an excellent writer and does a good job of weaving storylines together, I was frustrated when I finished listening to The Various Haunts of Men. I can't reveal my biggest frustrations without revealing important plot points so I will focus on a couple general issues.

    I don't understand why this book is called a Simon Serrailler Mystery. Until the final 30 minutes of the 14 hour book, Serrailler is a secondary character who rarely appears. Yet in the very end, when he does become the focus, the author imbues him with a gravitas he doesn't deserve and hasn't earned. The book would have barely changed if he had been edited out.

    The author introduces numerous seemingly unrelated storylines, which decrease as some characters are killed off. I found this tiring and confusing because of the rapid change in point of view characters. In general, however, she does bring the story arcs together in a believable way. In addition to the killer, three women, whose stories intersect, become the main characters. But in the end, when Serrailler steps in and the case is wound up, the women become mere footnotes to be summarized is a pseudo epilogue and we never hear from them again.

    In fact it is rather strange that for most of the book women are the main and secondary point of view characters but the story ends up in a male point of view.

    I hated the ending but I can't tell you why.

    The narrator was excellent. I would consider other books he reads. I would have to think hard about another book by the author.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dorothy GREENSBORO, NORTH CAROLINA, United States 11-24-13
    Dorothy GREENSBORO, NORTH CAROLINA, United States 11-24-13 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
    10
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    32
    6
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    4
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "As Good as PD James"
    If you could sum up The Various Haunts of Men in three words, what would they be?

    Layered, detailed and heartbreaking


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Various Haunts of Men?

    Freya realizing she had fallen in love. It was a nice moment.


    What does Steven Pacey bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    I tried to read this book and found that listening to it added all the levels of emotion that are necessary to understand all of the characters.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    The end. This is the ONLY mystery I have ever read that made me SAD and made me cry. Usually, mysteries are designed so that we are somehow able to absorb the deaths. They do not really move us because the important characters are somehow protected from harm. This mystery is all too real.


    Any additional comments?

    A deeply moving mystery. Susan Hill is a wonderful character writer. She is so careful and methodical, gradually building to the ultimate crescendo. It is like a piece of music. Those who can't face being discomfited by the cruel realities of crime should not read this, but I was completely absorbed.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    James Slidell, LA, United States 05-24-11
    James Slidell, LA, United States 05-24-11
    HELPFUL VOTES
    41
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    18
    9
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    0
    Overall
    "Don't waste your time and money"

    The story line meanders all over the place and it appears that at least a few tracks are missing, near the beginning. The ending is the worst I've ever experienced and it appears that the writer just couldn't figure out how, or when, to end the story. Several threads are left hanging, completely unexplained.The author's inexperience shines brightly!

    11 of 17 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer United States 06-30-14
    Amazon Customer United States 06-30-14 Member Since 2012

    My favorite authors: Tess Gerritsen, Anne Perry, Deborah Crombie, & Lisa Scottoline. Also, MC Beaton/Marion Chesney writes hilarious fluff.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    14
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    60
    9
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    2
    3
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Serrailler, Who Is Mysteriously Absent/Vague..."

    Poor title...the main character was NOT Simon Serrailler, but I suppose the author needs him to figure largely in the books later on in the series, so this was her way of introducing him (He isn't developed well and what you do find out doesn't make him terribly interesting or likeable).

    While I like realism in my stories, I don't like for a book to be categorized as a "mystery" that's part of a "series" when it does not function in the same way that most books of the genre do (in other words, the series main character is NOT the main character, so you develop a relationship with the wrong character). It's at the very least, confusing to the reader - and at the worst, quite distressing. Many threads left undone, and one major, MAJOR problem with the outcome. Like a big kick in the gut! That's all I can say without writing a spoiler.

    This is terribly unfortunate, because the writing is INCREDIBLY GOOD. I'm tempted to keep going with the series because the writing is so wonderful, but the heartache of the issues in this book makes me hesitate.

    I gave the story three stars because there are issues with the plot that I personally don't like...but that doesn't mean they aren't written well or believeable.

    I'd love to hear from other readers who went on to read more in this series after suffering through the issues in this book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-10 of 24 results PREVIOUS123NEXT

    There are no listener reviews for this title yet.

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.

CANCEL

Thank You

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.