Simon Serrailler Crime Novel, 6
Finished: Jan. 10, 2012
First Published: Jan. 3, 2012
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf Canada
The rain had been steady all afternoon as Simon Serrailler drove home from Wales and the wedding of an old friend.
Acquired: Received a review copy from Random House Canada.
Reason for Reading: Next in the series.
Publisher's Summary: "A cold case comes back to life in this sixth book in the highly successful Simon Serrailler detective series "eagerly awaited by all aficionados" (P.D. James). Freak weather and flash floods all over southern England. Lafferton is under water and a landslide on the Moor has closed the bypass. As the rain slowly drains away, a shallow grave--and a skeleton--are exposed; 20 years on, the remains of missing teenager Harriet Lowther have finally been uncovered. The case is re-opened and Simon Serrailler is called in as senior investigating officer. Harriet, an only child, had been on her way home from a friend's house that night. She was the daughter of a prominent local businessman, Sir John Lowther. Cold cases are always tough, and in this latest in the acclaimed series from Susan Hill, Serrailler is forced to confront a frustrating, distressing and complex situation."
I love this series! And eagerly await each new installment which, unfortunately only come out every other year, but boy! is it worth the wait! Simon is working on the cold case of skeletal remains which were easily identified by a genetic abnormality but soon after the finding of this body more remains are found close by; this time in a shallow grave. Simon must decide if they are related and how. This time the victim is an unknown and proves difficult to identify. A most intriguing and stimulating case with many twists, turns and avenues.
As usual with Hill's books, while the case is the main focus of the book it does not take up the whole spotlight. Simon's character and personal life, along with that of his family continues on in an established story arc throughout the books. The other topic that permeates this book is that of the elderly/terminally ill and death. Susan Hill explores this theme from many angles giving us characters who are doctors, nurses, caregivers and patients who are simply elderly, suffering from dementia or dying from terrible terminal illnesses. She explores hospice care, private clinics, those who are content with their life and now death and those who are angry at the world for their illness and impending death. She explores the controversial issue of self-assisted suicide from both sides , while making a sympathetic character who deals with the issue and at the same time dealing with the crime that it is in England and most of the civilized world.
A page-turning, thought-provoking, addictive read. And a highly recommended series. For some reason I started this one in the middle, so I have to keep reminding myself I have the first three books awaiting my reading pleasure.