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The Vows of Silence by Susan Hill
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The Vows of Silence (2008)

by Susan Hill

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great series. ( )
  ccayne | Feb 14, 2014 |
This is a Simon Seruiler mystery, which means that aside from the particular mystery, it has the backdrop of Chief Superintendent Simon Seruiler, an artist detective with an attraction for and a reluctance to be committed to women, along with his sister, Cat, a doctor, and her family, and his father, mother, and later stepmother, along with various other characters who continue for varying lengths through the novels. The location is the cathedral town of Lafferton, in England, not tiny, but not too big. Simon is a likable and interesting character, despite his imperfections. He has strong emotions and connections with his family. His sister, Cat, is the heart of the extended family, and the one he goes to for comfort. Simon plays somewhat of a father role for his nephew, Sam. This backdrop is interesting in itself, and then, the extended family is often drawn into the particular mysteries as well, with lingering effects on them.

This particular mystery is about a series of murders of young women. Susan Hill, in my opinion, is up there with the best in terms of mystery writing, on a par with P.D. James, and Aka Edwardson, and the writing and suspense and depth of character is right up there in this novel, but I have to admit to a bit of a disappointment at the end, in learning the identity of the murderer. Nonetheless, I recommend the book, as well as the whole series. ( )
  solla | Jun 24, 2013 |
Susan Hill's Simon Serailler novels are shelved as mysteries in libraries and bookstores, and here on my virtual shelves as well. Having read the first (The Various Haunts of Men (Simon Serrailler, #1)) and the fourth (this one), and some reviews, I think they are actually domestic fiction about a family, one of whose members happens to be a policeman.
I enjoyed both books, and will probably seek out the middle two and any sequels. But I enjoyed them as domestic fiction more than for the mystery. I learned from some of the other reviews that each of the four books has Simon dealing with a serial killer, which stretches credulity given that the series is set in a relatively small cathedral town. I read a lot of police procedurals, and serial killers seem to crop up a lot, partly because in most real-life homicides the police know more or less "whodunnit." The need for proof can make tales of homicides which are domestic, gang-related, or committed during the commission of another felony interesting; but it's still a little more difficult to come up with plausible scenarios for detective work under those circumstances. So, nearly every writer of police procedurals has to have an occasional serial killer to deal with. But I'm just tired of them.
In a sense, though, the serial killer is not really the focus of The Vows of Silence. In fact, more people die in the book from accident, suicide and natural causes than by the hand of the killer. Although some chapters put us inside the killer's head, the victims are given equal time and their deaths are described more empathetically than is sometimes the case. Serailler seems to take a long time to come to a solution, but he has a lot of personal concerns to deal with, and in the end, those are the portions of the book I will remember. Recommended, but not as a mystery. ( )
  auntieknickers | Apr 3, 2013 |
As always, this 4th in the series, was gripping and beautifully written. I love her books and this one actually made me cry.

Back Cover Blurb:
In the peaceful cathedral town of Lafferton, a gunman is terrorising young women. What - if anything - links the attacks? Is the marksman with a rifle the same person as the killer with a handgun or do the police have two snipers on their hands?
Detective Chief Superintendent Simon Serrailler is in charge of the case,but he is also struggling to deal with a tragedy at the heart of his own family. Two forthcoming events - a local fair and the high-profile cathedral wedding of the Lord Lieutenant's daughter - only add to the pressure..... ( )
  mazda502001 | Apr 13, 2012 |
The Vows of Silence is the fourth in Susan Hill's Simon Serrailler crime series. This novel finds Serrailler on the trail of a sniper randomly targeting young women. The crimes are puzzling and all the more disturbing because there is no decernable pattern to them, and Serrailler wears himself out trying to come up with the answer. Much of the action is investigative and procedural, but as with the other books in the series, Hill gives us the human dimension of her hero's life as well. Simon's sister Cat has just returned from Australia, where she and her husband Chris have been working (both are doctors). But almost immediately Chris falls ill, and a good deal of the story is devoted to his failing health and the toll it takes on the family. Serrailler is also resentful of his father's relationship with a woman who, as he sees it, thinks she can replace his deceased mother. The Vows of Silence is a worthy addition to a series that blurs the line between crime and literary fiction. ( )
  icolford | Apr 6, 2012 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0099499290, Paperback)

In the peaceful cathedral city of Lafferton, a gunman is terrorising young women. What - if anything - links the attacks? Is the marksman with a rifle the same person as the killer with a handgun or do the police have two snipers on their hands? Detective Chief Superintendent Simon Serrailler is in charge of the case, but he is also struggling to deal with a tragedy at the heart of his own family. Two forthcoming events - a local fair and the high-profile cathedral wedding of the Lord Lieutenant's daughter - only add to the pressure.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:01:32 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Gunmen are terrorising young women in the Cathedral town of Lafferton. What, if anything, links the apparently random murders? Is the marksman with a rifle the same person as the killer with a handgun? Detective Chief Superintendent Simon Serrailler, promoted to the Serious Incident Flying Taskforce, tries to think himself into the gunman's head.… (more)

» see all 4 descriptions

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