Susan Hill's novels and short stories have won the Whitbread Book, Somerset Maugham, and John Llewellyn Rhys Awards, the Yorkshire Post Book of the Year, and have been shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. The play adapted from her famous ghost novel, The Woman in Black, has been running in the West End since 1989. She lives in the UK.
A little boy is kidnapped while waiting for a ride to school in Hill's second mystery featuring Detective Inspector Simon Serailler (after The Various Haunts of Men) and his bucolic English cathedral town of Lafferton. Few leads exist. Crime reconstruction and interviews with local pedophiles, ex-cons, transients, and the boy's family turn up no clues. The community is gripped by fear, and the boy's family unravels. Simon's personal life is also turbulent-his institutionalized sister has suddenly died, his other sibling is about to give birth to her third child and her medical practice is suffering, and his sometime girlfriend is in desperate need of attention and stalking him. Simon is clearly not functioning at his best in the face of this truly baffling and tragic case. Thanks to Hill's deft prose, his character gains both depth and humanity. This novel showcases the author's exceptional skill at complex plot development and the creation of a community of thoroughly engaging and believable characters. Fans of English mysteries will be delighted. Strongly recommended.-Susan Clifford Braun, Aerospace Corp., El Segundo, CA Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
In Hill's fine second Simon Serrailler crime novel (after The Various Haunts of Men), Inspector Serrailler, who's still brooding over the unsolved murder of a fellow officer a year earlier, has sought solace amid Italian ruins with his sketchbook, much to the disapproval of his father back in England. Summoned home to the cathedral town of Lafferton, Serrailler finds that murder, family breakups and the abduction of a schoolboy have occurred in his absence. Other worries include the impending death of his handicapped sister, Martha, and a mob attack on the home of the pedophile suspected of kidnapping nine-year-old David Angus. Meanwhile, down-and-out ex-con Andy Gunton finds dubious employment shipping cars for sleazy Lee Carter. The patient reader must wait until these subplots come together, but Hill's smooth and engrossing style creates riveting suspense as Serrailler and sidekick Nathan Coates pursue David's abductors through Lafferton's seediest areas to an astonishing conclusion. (Nov.) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.