Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

The Various Haunts of Men (Simon Serrailler…

The Various Haunts of Men (Simon Serrailler Crime Novels) (original 2004; edition 2007)

by Susan Hill

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
898679,830 (3.68)206
Title:The Various Haunts of Men (Simon Serrailler Crime Novels)
Authors:Susan Hill
Info:Overlook Hardcover (2007), Edition: Book Club Edition, Hardcover, 438 pages
Collections:Your library

Work details

The Various Haunts of Men by Susan Hill (2004)



Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 206 mentions

English (66)  Dutch (1)  All languages (67)
Showing 1-5 of 66 (next | show all)
It is 10 years since this, the first Simon Serailler novel by Susan Hill, was published. I recently read the eighth in the series and it made me want to revisit the beginnings of the character of Detective Inspector Serailler and the cathedral city of Lafferton.
I remembered two things, the enigmatic DI, and the misty spooky Hill, its ley lines and standing stones. Re-reading ‘The Various Haunts of Men’, the dichotomy of the setting was as I remembered it: cathedral, choir, close-knit community, beautiful countryside and looking over the city, The Hill. Benign and beautiful by day, spooky by night. One woman disappears, a private, quiet, hard-working woman. Next, a dog vanishes on The Hill. Alarm bells start to ring with the third disappearance, a young woman, plump, problem skin, depressed, who has recently developed an interest in alternative therapies. Characters are introduced and there is that extra frisson at the beginning of a series when every character is unknown: which are the victims, which is the murderer? With the luxury of ten years since my first reading, I did not remember the identity of victims or criminal.
Re-reading it, I wasn’t disappointed. It has spurred me on to re-read the next.
Read more of my book reviews at http://www.sandradanby.com/book-reviews-a-z/ ( )
  Sandradan1 | Nov 9, 2015 |
After reading four other books in this series, I finally went back to read the first. It is outstanding, and the whole series is outstanding. One curious thing about this book is Hill's choice to kill of the protagonist of the story, Freya Graffham, who in a lot of ways is a far better lead character than Simon. I'm thinking that Hill wants to keep Simon mysterious and the relationship with Freya, intelligent and intuitive as she is, would inevitably have stripped away a lot of that mystery. In the later novels the memory of Freya plays powerfully, but she seems to be a sad loss to the series now I've spent some time in her head. Hill shoots for a lot more than creating a good mystery, though she (as here) usually accomplishes this. Her real interest is the characters here, and the action is really just a mechanism through which she can put them through their paces. She's very observant, and creates characters who have something to tell us about life. One interesting difference between Hill's books and the usual mystery series is that the murderers in these books are the *least* interesting people in them--they're rather pathetically two-dimensional. Broken people. And that seems right, too. ( )
  ehines | Feb 9, 2015 |
Excellent book. Love the English theme
  shazjhb | Feb 6, 2015 |
I found this on the swap shelves in the building laundry (along with an Ann Patchett I haven't yet read). Since it was the first Serailler book, I couldn't resist. And it was very good, and quite surprising. I can't say what the surprise was without giving it away, of course, but I liked the characters and the viewpoint, although the storyline was a little on the sensational side. I think I identified the killer at about the appropriate point in the story, not so soon that I thought everyone was an idiot, and not so late that I felt I'd been hoodwinked. NIce English country town, too. ( )
  ffortsa | Jan 20, 2015 |
Where I got the book: audiobook on Audible.

I’d checked a couple of the Serailler books out of the library in the past, and have long been meaning to listen to the entire series. I loved Susan Hill’s creepy stories when I was younger.

This, of course, is Book 1, and what’s most interesting about it in my opinion is that we are introduced to Simon Serailler purely from the outside and that he’s seen in large part through the eyes of someone who’s only recently met him and who, to her great chagrin, has almost immediately fallen in love with him. That’s a pretty interesting device, as if Hill deliberately set out to call attention to the power a good fictional detective of the classic English type has over us. Serailler’s got all the hallmarks: he’s good at his job, he’s a loner, he’s got a sensitive, artistic side to the point where more than one of his colleagues think’s he’s gay. Sort of a cross between Adam Dalgleish and Lord Peter Wimsey, and in the same way this novel blends police procedural with Serailler’s family life, roping in a few friends and colleagues along the way. Of course he also has the aura of authority (a powerful aphrodisiac) and Hill seems to wave that in front of the reader’s face by having the woman who falls for him be one of his subordinates. I think I knew pretty early on how that particular plot line was going to end, although I ended up liking Freya and hoping it wouldn’t. And I think Hill meant me both to like her and to suspect what was going to happen.

One thing that distinguishes this first book is that we hear from the killer early on, building a picture of who he is psychologically long before we know who he is in fact. The plot centers around the theme of alternative medicine, very suitable since most of the Seraillers are doctors, and you get the distinct impression that Hill is on the side of orthodoxy so all in all by the time I was a little more than halfway through the book I knew where the killer was coming from.

The plotting of the book’s a little messy, for all that this is probably the most neatly structured of the Serailler books. Hill’s not a writer to reward you with a feeling of smug satisfaction; she seems to like to keep her readers a little on the uncomfortable side and is predictable in some places while throwing curve balls in others. These are good books for mystery readers who like to get involved with the characters as much as they want to see the unraveling of the mystery. Narrator Steven Pacey does a smooth, relaxed job, and is good at varying the accents without exaggerating them. ( )
1 vote JaneSteen | Jan 3, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 66 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
The Various Haunts of men
Require the pencil, they defy the pen.

~ George Crabbe, The Borough

My dearly loved Ghost
First words
"The Tape" Last week I found a letter from you. I didn't think I had kept any of them. I thought I had destroyed everything from you. But this one had somehow been overlooked.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (2)

Book description
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0099534983, Paperback)

A lonely woman of fifty-three vanishes in fog; a fat twenty-two-year-old never returns from an early morning walk . . .

Experienced policemen know that most missing persons either turn up or go missing on purpose. But fresh young D.S. Freya Graffham won’t drop it — until she discovers what links the people who disappear on “The Hill,” young and old, men and women, even a little dog. Susan Hill writes with compassion, humour and a unique understanding of the details of daily life.

From the Paperback edition.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:23:04 -0400)

"A lonely woman of vanishes while out on her morning run. The police aren't alarmed. But when a 22-year-old girl never returns from a walk, an old man disappears too, no one can denied that something is happening in the quiet cathedral town of Lafferton. When fresh-faced policewoman Freya Graffham is assigned to the case, she must unravel the mystery before events turn too gruesome"--Back cover.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 8 descriptions

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
21 avail.
39 wanted
4 pay4 pay

Popular covers


Average: (3.68)
0.5 1
1 4
1.5 3
2 11
2.5 10
3 66
3.5 30
4 126
4.5 11
5 39


2 editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

See editions

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


Help/FAQs | About | Privacy/Terms | Blog | Store | Contact | LibraryThing.com | APIs | WikiThing | Common Knowledge | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | 100,878,583 books! | Top bar: Always visible