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The Various Haunts of Men by Susan Hill

>> Thursday, May 7, 2009

Series: #1 in the Simon Serrailler series
Genre: Mystery
Publication Date: 2004
Pages: 438
Challenges: none

This is a British mystery that I thoroughly enjoyed. The writing and the mystery are both well done.

I was pleased when I first opened the book and found a map of the Cathedral town of Lafferton at the very beginning. I love books with maps! There’s a pretty extensive cast of characters in this one, but getting to know them and wondering which ones may or may not be recurring characters is fun. If I hadn’t known that this was the first in a series featuring DCI Simon Serrailler, I would not have guessed, because he actually plays more of a supporting role in much of this book.

The story opens with a disappearance. The Hill is an area of Lafferton where people walk, run, bike, and just enjoy the day. But when people start disappearing with no trace and don’t seem to have anything in common, it begins to take on a possibly sinister feel. Detective Sergeant Freya Graffham has recently transferred from London to the smaller town of Lafferton and takes an interest in the missing persons cases and feels that somehow they are connected.

At the same time as this storyline is developed, there is also another about alternative medicine practitioners (some good, some simply charlatans). DCI Serrailler is (according to his father) the black sheep in a family of all physicians for choosing to go into police work instead of medicine. Serrailler’s sister plays a role in this alternative medicine storyline. The reader knows that the plots will connect, but discovering how that develops is what is so well done.

Interspersed are occasional transcripts from a tape by an unknown character. Is it the killer? Is it someone the reader already knows?

The first part of this book took me a little while to get into, partly because of the number of characters introduced, but before long I couldn’t put it down and was quite annoyed when I actually had to go to work and get on with real life and put the book down. I’m looking forward to returning to Lafferton in the next book in the series.


Lynne 5/07/2009 10:01 AM  

One good turn deserves another. I introduced you to Molly Murphy - now you've given me another good mystery series to read.

I'm checking to see if my library has this one - if not, it's going on my Amazon wish list.

Thanks for the recommendation!

Diane 5/07/2009 12:33 PM  

I have have this book in my stacks. She has a third book coming out or just out I believe.

Booklogged 5/07/2009 5:01 PM  

I think I bought a book by Susan Hill last year but I don't remember the name of it. Sadly, I've haven't read it yet even with all the good reviews I've read of her books.

It's the pits when work and real life intrude on our reading, isn't it?

SuziQoregon 5/07/2009 7:25 PM  

Lynne: Oh good - I think you'll like it!

Diane: yes I think the 3rd either just came out or is due out soon.

Booklogged: No kidding - I could get so much reading done if I didn't have to work. But I'm kind of attached to eating and having a house.

Vickie 5/08/2009 1:40 PM  

Well, huh! Another author to go a-huntin' for. Thanks toots!

blacklin 5/08/2009 10:36 PM  

I just added this book to my queue at And I pushed it to the top of my list :) (Booksfree works like Netflix>)

You have a lovely site here.

SuziQoregon 5/12/2009 7:10 AM  

Vickie: Oh you'd like this one a LOT!

Blacklin: thanks for stopping by. Hope you like it as much as I did.

Thanks for reading. Feel free to leave a comment. I read and respond them here although not always right away. If you would prefer an email response let me know.

I do moderate comments on posts older than 14 days in order to control spam. I will approve your legitimate comments as soon as I can.

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