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The Various Haunts of Men (Simon Serrailler…

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

by Susan Hill

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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

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The Various Haunts of Men by Susan Hill (2004)

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While most of the Lafferton CID is focused on a drugs case, recent transfer Detective Sergeant Freya Graffham almost single-handedly pursues the disappearances of women who have gone missing near “The Hill” in recent months. In her limited free time, Freya participates in a community choir, which unexpectedly brings her into social contact with the mother of her DCI, Simon Serrailler. Seeing Simon outside their professional surroundings sparks Freya's interest in developing more than a professional relationship with her chief. However, Simon has a reputation for keeping women at arm's length. Meanwhile, Simon's physician sister, Cat, is becoming concerned about some of the alternative health practitioners who seem to be preying on her most vulnerable patients. Then one of Cat's patients becomes one of the missing women and part of the police investigation.

Simon Serrailler was mostly absent in the first book in the series that bears his name. I thought that was odd. I didn't see enough of him to form an opinion about his personality. Although much is made of his rapid advancement within the ranks of the CID, I wasn't impressed with his job performance. His total absorption in the high profile drugs case resulted in his neglect of the missing persons cases, with tragic consequences. I wonder if this book was originally conceived as a standalone novel that the author later decided to continue as a series. Fans of the series say that it improves as the series progresses, so I'll give Simon at least one more chance before giving up on it. ( )
1 vote cbl_tn | Jan 31, 2016 |
Excellent plot and characters, and a stunner of an ending. Fans of Elizabeth George and Peter Robinson would enjoy this. ( )
  Gingermama | Jan 24, 2016 |
I don't know what to think about the ending of this book which is very controversial. It kind of left me a little angry but at the same time it made me want to read the 2nd book of the series. There is no way to describe what happened without any spoilers, so all I have to say is that you must read this book for yourself. Susan Hill is a excellent writer and the book is filled with characters that you will want to follow through the series but it definitely took courage to write this ending. ( )
  eadieburke | Jan 19, 2016 |
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 off 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 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Susan Hillprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Pacey, StevenNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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The Various Haunts of men
Require the pencil, they defy the pen.

~ George Crabbe, The Borough

My dearly loved Ghost
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"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.
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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)

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