The Betrayal of Trust: A Simon Serailler Mystery Hardcover – November 10, 2011
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"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
- Item Weight : 1.35 pounds
- Hardcover : 368 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1590202805
- ISBN-13 : 978-1590202807
- Dimensions : 6.34 x 1.22 x 9.27 inches
- Reading level : 18 and up
- Publisher : Harry N. Abrams; First Edition (November 10, 2011)
- Language: : English
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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The second storyline I have difficulty with is that of Jocelyn. After devoting a good portion of the book to revealing this woman's most intimate thoughts and inner conflicts (and their apparent resolution), we learn she has simply changed her mind about a couple of very important life decisions. And the manner in which we find out leaves me thinking the author had reached the end of her allotted pages and just checked off the box in order to tie that the thread up. And, as it happens, this storyline really offers next to nothing in terms of understanding the rest of the story, never mind the mystery itself.
I typically purchase the next story in the series as soon as I finish a book but I am holding off, at least for now. I cannot bear hearing any more about Rachel and Simon or their childish behavior with each other. But, mostly, I read this series for the mystery (and love the characters) so if the author is moving away from that and more toward advocacy on behalf of cultural policy I will stop here. While I do not take issue with her apparent positions, this is not the place I look to for information on such.
Her latest, "The Betrayal of Trust" is a worthy addition to the series. Set in the southwest of England, Simon Serailler is the only cop in a family of doctors. A loner by nature, he invests his energies in his job and in his avocation of sketching. He's gaining fame as an artist, but his true interests lie in his job. Crimes are not rare in his town of Lafferton, but the washing away of land in a horrendous storm uncovers two bodies. Both are young women, and one is soon identified as the body of a 15 year old girl who had gone missing some 16 years before. Serailler opens a "cold case" on the bodies and gets to work.
But Simon Serailler's family and friends also come into the picture. His sister, a doctor and a widow who's raising three children on her own, needs help. So does his step-mother, married to Simon's irascible father, who finds things out about her husband and his family that don't sit too well with her. And Simon - long aloof from the vagaries and messiness of love - finds himself struck by cupid's arrow. There are two other plot lines - seemingly at odds with the main one - that are fairly well tied up by Hill at book's end.
Are Hill's "Serailler" books police procedurals or are they family sagas? They're actually a combination of the two and are brilliantly done. I'm looking forward to the next one.
Top reviews from other countries
I would like to know what made Susan Hill paint quite such a bleak picture of the Swiss clinic where one of the characters goes for the purpose of assisted suicide, only to change her mind at the last minute and return to Lafferton. This is a very complex theme to tackle within the scope of a detective novel, especially when intertwined with another sub-plot involving dementia and an unscrupulous care home owner. It seems a rather heavy burden to lay on the reader.
In comparison, the portrayal of the rapidly-burgeoning love affair between Simon and Rachel seemed to me trite and cliched. I couldn't quite believe in it, and was rather bored by it. In fact this was the point at which my interest really switched from Simon to his sister Cat and the rest of the family, and it will be to find out what happens to them that I carry on reading.
Exploitation, dominance and manipulation should not belong in the patient/carer sphere, but here Hill examines the difficult zone of terminal illness.
Heavy rains and floods reveal first one skeleton, then another. The first is identified, the second is a mystery. Simon Serrailler must investigate, working almost on his own as police cutbacks see drug busts getting more staff than his investigative team. And then at what promises to be a dull evening, an official dinner at which he wears his police hat, he falls instantly in love: never a convenient time, for all sorts of reasons. In the midst of love at first sight we see a different Serrailler, not in control of the situation, distracted, wracked by longing.
This is the sixth in the series, but unlike other crime series you can read these in or out of order. Of course there are references to long-running storylines – all related to the Serrailler family - which may pass you by if you read them out of order, but that will not affect your enjoyment of the story. Susan Hill crafts her book well, as both stand-alone detective story, and long-term story arcs. But if you can, read from the beginning.
most of it was great, but i felt it could have run to at least four more chapters. what a great shame, because this book was really shaping up to be first rate: attempting the difficult issue of assisted suicide, for instance, with what felt like a (fairly) open mind. i think if Susan Hill were not such a respected novelist - indeed, if this was a first book by an unknown writer - her editor would have pressured her to resolve all the threads thoroughly at the end, and not dump everything in an inconclusive heap.
However, this novel appeared to "run out of steam", and I felt the ending was rushed. I do not want to spoil this for other readers, and although I am sure the ending was legally researched, having got to "know" Simon Serrailler over the course of this series, I felt he would have dealt with the outcome in a different way??
Having said that, it is a good read and there are lots of issues remaining, which I look forward to being picked up in the next novel.