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The Pure in Heart by Susan Hill
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The Pure in Heart (2005)

by Susan Hill

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Alright...I'm loving Simon Serrailler as much as I love Thomas Lynley, and THAT is saying a lot!!! ( )
  briellenadyne | May 27, 2017 |
The nature of death, grieving and hope are examined in this, the second Simon Serrailler novel. To give these books a label – thriller, crime novel, detective novel – is to underplay the complexity of the subject. It is an examination of human nature.
A nine-year boy waits by the garden gate for his lift to school, but is never seen again. A severely handicapped young woman dies. Both families struggle with grief, reacting in different ways, ways which cause tension within the family. And involved in the mix is a local man, an ex-con newly released from prison, struggling to stay straight, struggling with the prejudices of his family. Reading this book will make you examine your own prejudices, your attitude to death and dying, it will make you as ‘what would I do if…’
The small cathedral town of Lafferton is like an extra character in Susan Hill’s Serrailler novels. Surrounded by wooden hills and deep ravines, it is at once brooding and at the same time reassuring.
Read more of my book reviews at http://www.sandradanby.com/book-reviews-a-z/ ( )
  Sandradan1 | Nov 5, 2015 |
Where I got the book: audiobook from Audible. ***SPOILER WARNING***

This second novel in the Simon Serrailler series is more loosely written than the first, a trend that continues through the other books I’ve read in this series. The police procedural—in this instance a case of child abduction—proceeds alongside the lives of the Serrailler/Deerbon families, a bit like flipping between a soap opera and a detective mystery on TV. In addition, Hill starts using a technique she often employs later, that of introducing a seemingly unrelated subplot that you can easily guess is going to tie into the mystery at some point. I’d read the next novel as a standalone a few years ago, so I knew the biggest reveal, but I still enjoyed listening to the story unfold in Steven Pacey’s well-paced narration.

For the first time, we see into Simon Serrailler’s head, and learn that he was in fact attracted to Freya Graffham, one of the main characters in the last novel. Her death seems to have precipitated Simon’s feelings about her to the point where he stops responding to longtime f**kbuddy Diana’s messages, the first of many instances of somewhat immature behavior on Simon’s part that start to show up in the series. We also learn that Simon is very fond of his younger sister Martha, who is severely disabled, and there’s a whole subplot with the staff at her care home that should go somewhere but doesn’t—it’s interesting because Hill is an interesting writer, but from the point of view of plotting it’s a serious loose end.

The abduction case is not so much of a procedural as a telling of how such events affect the victim’s family and the police officers trying to find the child. The novel concludes in a way that you could either find incredibly realistic or incredibly frustrating depending on how much you’ve decided you like the series, and also in a huge come-on for the next book.

I think most readers will see one or two of the twists in the plot coming from a little way off, although Hill always plants a red herring or two to pull you off the scent. The soap opera dominates in this episode of the series, so it’ll annoy you if you’re mostly looking for a mystery but keep you enthralled if you enjoy the Serrailler family and appreciate Hill’s inventiveness and realism with her minor characters. ( )
  JaneSteen | Jan 5, 2015 |
Second in Hill’s Simon Serailler series, is just as deep and complex as her first. Simon, on vacation in Italy, is called home to the bedside of his sister. In her 20s she has the mind of a baby, and has been ill and in a home all her life, but Si cares deeply for her and rushes home when it looks as if she’ll succumb to this latest illness.

He arrives home just as a 9 year old boy has gone missing.

As with the first mystery, Si and his family figure prominently and at times the mystery of the boy takes second place to the mystery of Si himself, and his complex and multifaceted family and their friends. We delve into what it means to love, how we love, how we view the world and how we learn to deal with the tragedies and horrors it holds for us. ( )
1 vote majkia | Jan 19, 2014 |
I suppose the mystery is always just a vehicle for us to examine questions like What binds us together as a society? Or as a family? Or what binds me together as a distinct personality? Hill, though, pretty decidedly subjugates the demands of genre to these bigger life issues. Her characters aren't quite up to the task of helping us think these through without the distraction of a compelling plot, though . . . they're just a bit too sketchy. But there's promise and this is a series . . . ( )
1 vote ehines | Aug 13, 2013 |
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Epigraph
Blesssed are the pure in heart:
for they shall see God
The Gospel According to St Matthew
Dedication
For my moles everywhere
First words
At first light the mist was soft and smoky over the lagoon and it was cold enough for Simon Serrailler to be glad of his heavy donkey jacket.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0099462109, Mass Market Paperback)

The second novel featuring Detective Inspector Simon Serrailler set in the English Cathedral town of Lafferton.

A little boy is kidnapped as he stands with his satchel at the gate of his home, waiting for a lift to school. An ex-con finds it impossible to stay straight. A severely handicapped young woman dies in the night — has someone who loves her helped her out of this world?

Once again, Susan Hill brilliantly creates a community, with detail so sharp and convincing that readers feel that these people are their neighbours. And that terror and evil are always in their midst. . . .


From the Trade Paperback edition.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:22:22 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

Detective Chief Inspector Simon Serrailler investigates the kidnapping of a young boy, a case that is influenced by a critically ill disabled woman and an ex-con who is struggling to stay honest.

» see all 6 descriptions

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