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The Betrayal of Trust: A Simon Serailler Mystery Hardcover – November 10, 2011

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The Betrayal of Trust: A Simon Serailler Mystery + A Question of Identity: A Simon Serrailler Mystery (Chief Superintendent Simon Serrailler Mystery) + The Vows of Silence: A Simon Serrailler Mystery (A Chief Superintendent Simon Serrailler Mystery)
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Editorial Reviews


"Compelling...Fans and newcomers to Hill's series (The Vows of Silence, 2009, etc.) will appreciate the characters' deep humanity." — Kirkus

"The updated plotlines of the cathedral town's residents will be part of the fun attached to watching Serrailler and his crew solve the two mysteries...this series has many devotees, who find in the enigmatic Serrailler the same appealing mix of intelligence and sensitivity that characterizes P. D. James' Adam Dalgliesh." — Booklist

"Not all great novelists can write crime fiction, but when one like Susan Hill does it, the result is stunning." - -Ruth Rendell

"Thoughtful mysteries...elegant prose." — The New York Times Book Review

"It's the intelligence of this brooding series that rivets a reader's attention." — Maureen Corrigan, Washington Post

"Eagerly awaited by all aficionados of crime fiction." — P.D. James

"If you like your crime fiction with strong overtones of serious literature, look no further than Hill . . . Some suspense novels are demonstrably character-driven and some are plot-driven, while others are atmospheric and haunting. Hill manages to combine all of those elements seamlessly, not favoring one over the other, all the while imbuing her narrative with a social conscience rarely displayed in genre fiction . . . As I wrote of Hill in a review of The Various Haunts of Men (2007): 'Fans of P.D. James and Ruth Rendell can rest easy, knowing that those authors' tradition of fine storytelling will move forward at least one more generation.' I stand by that 100 percent." — Bookpage (November 2011), Top Pick in Mystery

“Hill knows how to keep those pages turning.” — Chicago Sun-Times

"The Betrayal of Trust by Susan Hill is a superb mystery." — San Francisco Book Review

About the Author

Susan Hill is the author of over forty books, including six Chief Superintendent Simon Serrailler crime novels. She runs her own small publishing firm, Long Barn Books. Visit

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Product Details

  • Series: Simon Serailler Mystery
  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Overlook Books; First Edition edition (November 10, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590202805
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590202807
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.2 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (63 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #327,828 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

I began reading this book and couldn't put it down.
With amazing prose and grace, Susan HIll brings these characters and their stories together in a neat, chilling conclusion.
E. Griffin
I found it to be disappointing, so many loose ends, characters that seemed forced to fit into the story line.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Maine Colonial TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 4, 2012
Format: Hardcover
This review does not contain plot spoilers as to the murder mystery, but my explanation of the reasons why I thought the book was a failure may be more detailed than some would want to read.

After a strong start in the Simon Serrailler series, every book has been worse than the one before. I stopped buying the books two entries ago, but now I'm going to stop borrowing them from the library. My interest in the characters has kept me going, but the characters are so ill-served by Susan Hill at this point, I give up.

Susan Hill tends to have three strands in the books in this series: (1) the police investigation of a murder or murders; (2) the personal story of Simon and those involved in his life; and (3) a social issue which, in this book, is terminal disease and assisted suicide. Each strand in this book is a disappointment or worse.

The investigation part of the book isn't terrible, but it's largely Simon on his own, lucking into clues and managing to bully information from witnesses with threats that even the most timid person should have found resistible. The promising young detectives introduced in the previous book in the series are barely present here.

Simon's personal story is yet another failed romance with an unsuitable or unavailable woman. Worse yet, Susan Hill describes it in embarrassingly Harlequin-esque prose.

But these flaws are nothing compared to the train wreck that is Susan Hill's heavy-handed treatment of the assisted suicide theme. She develops a character with a fatal disease and then proceeds to hammer the reader over the head with horror-show descriptions of everything and everyone involved in the character's attempt to arrange her assisted suicide. I get it; Hill is opposed to euthanasia.
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful By E. Bukowsky HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 16, 2011
Format: Paperback
In "The Betrayal of Trust," torrential rains, heavy winds, and flash floods have wreaked havoc in parts of England, but this storm will have consequences far more serious than mere physical damage. The foul weather and resulting soil erosion lead to the uncovering of two female skeletons. One of the bodies is unidentified, but the other appears to be a schoolgirl who had mysteriously disappeared sixteen years earlier. Since both seem to have been homicide victims, Detective Chief Superintendent Simon Serrailler of Lafferton CID is on the case.

Susan Hill's Simon Serrailler police procedurals are consistently absorbing. The author courageously explores provocative themes that go beyond the crimes under investigation. In addition, Hill avoids providing neat answers to the thorny questions that she raises. A large part of "The Betrayal of Trust" deals with the horrendous effects of debilitating illness. Seventy-three year old Jocelyn Forbes has a neurological disease that is robbing her of her ability to move, grip objects, and swallow. She is considering ending her life on her own terms, rather than wait for her condition to worsen. Another woman is placed in a facility because of severe dementia, and a seventy-seven year old man has an advanced case of Parkinson's that has made him dependent on his much-younger wife and various caregivers. All of these individuals have relatives and/or significant others who are devastated to see their loved ones in a state of decline. Hill alludes to the controversial subject of assisted suicide. In addition, she describes what it might be like to spend one's final months receiving palliative care in a hospice.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Kai Roberts on June 2, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I have read all of Susan Hill's Simon Serailler mysteries and have enjoyed them, with the exception of this offering. Generally, Susan Hill has pitch-perfect characterizations, a good, evocative prose style, never shies away from dealing with difficult subject matters, and she carefully constructs her plots. Admittedly, some might find her mysteries rather dark as some of the plots deal not only with violent crimes but with characters struggling with terminal diseases. Others might find Hill's approach clinically realistic. Regardless, this approach can make for some uncomfortable reading; however, these subjects have hitherto fit into the main storyline in some perceptible, rational way. The novels revolve around the Serailler family -- a prominent and well-respected medical family in the fictional cathedral town of Lafferton. They do not simply focus on Simon, the detective, (the "black sheep" of the family, according to his father -- a stern and demanding physician). Of course, the mystery aspect of the novels center on the cases that Simon must solve in his role as Detective Chief Superintendant. He is a complex character who has deep, abiding issues with his father and finds it difficult to sustain a close romantic relationship. The interpersonal relationships in the Serailler family are intricate and fascinating and always make for a clever human backdrop against which the police procedural develops. In The Betrayal of Trust, however, this previously successful balancing act stumbles, in my opinion. There are various sub-plots and competing strands that deal with a host of terrible medical conditions, but they seem unrelated to the main mystery -- which revolves around the discovery of the remains of two young women.Read more ›
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