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The Betrayal of Trust by Susan Hill

The Betrayal of Trust

by Susan Hill

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3292247,652 (3.79)65



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Showing 1-5 of 22 (next | show all)
Susan Hill' Simon Serrailler mystery series still wows me. There have been better & best titles, never a disappointment.
Many plot facets this time, that get summed up very satisfactorily. Trouble with his own life, that of his extended family, she keeps in mind keeping him a real person (yes, it is fiction, no worries).
Cold case, also addresses a touchy subject, sensitive to the times...

One thing: man, these Brits drink coffee at ALL hours... I was almost kept awake via sympathetic caffeine!
( )
  kmajort | Feb 9, 2018 |
Boring, too long at 350 pages. Don't care about the detective's romantic interests. Definitely needed editing. ( )
  tgamble54 | Aug 29, 2017 |
I agree with a previous reviewer who stated that this author is obsessed with terminal illness and death. She most certainly is!!! However, because I happen to enjoy spending time with Simon Serrailler, I will continue with this very dark, depressing series. ( )
  briellenadyne | Jun 24, 2017 |
A flood leads to the discovery of the bodies of two girls, who died 16 years ago. One is a "cold case"; the other girl was apparently never missed. Simon investigates the cases, works out most of what went on and then forces a witness to explain exactly what happened by sitting in her house with her in silence for hours. He then seemingly decides to leave the cases unsolved out of a sense of delicacy


because the perpetrator is now suffering from dementia. What about the relatives of the dead girls - don't they deserve justice/closure? Shouldn't Lottie face charges for concealing the deaths?

Then there is a side story about a woman suffering from motor neurone disease, which was at first sad, then odd and then very melodramatic. There was a lot of focus, often in quite a heavy handed way, on end of life care and how assisted suicide is a very very bad thing.

Finally Simon meets Rachel and behaves like a particularly revolting teenager. He is instantly in love with her, but it cannot be etc etc. Yuck! ( )
  pgchuis | May 28, 2017 |
You'll see a number of negative reviews here that are mostly people who are disappointed that Hill doesn't stick to the usual mystery structure in these books. If that is a deal-breaker for you, then this series probably isn't for you. But there is a lot else to recommend them.

For one thing, the narrative scope of these novels goes way beyond the individual books. So a novel may stop in the middle of a case. Or a novel may close with the close of a case, leaving a whole bunch of sub-plots unresolved. It is not as if the cases or the volumes are treated completely arbitrarily, but the structure is like that of O'Brian's Aubrey/Maturin novels--what really matters is the narrative arc of the whole series, the structure of the individual novels is secondary.

Also, Hill uses the mystery as a vehicle for dealing with a lot of serious life issues. Difficult familial issues, illness, death, suicide, spiritualism, having and raising children, loss, giving of and protecting oneself and on and on. She creates three-dimensional characters, puts them into these life situations and lets them play out realistically. Thematically, they all contribute to the overall arc of the work. As far as plot goes, some feed into the main plot significantly, some do not.

So, if you are looking for a respite from all the serious issues in your life, or you need for a mystery to stick closely to a particular structure, then you'd be better to look elsewhere. If you are willing to put yourself into Hill's hands a bit and let the eternal worries and crises of life play out in your story, then these novels are definitely worth a try.

From a literary standpoint, rather than a generic expectation standpoint, Hill usually does all of this quite well. Here, I think, she is a bit heavy-handed in pushing her theme hard in seemingly every facet of the story, but all in all this is another strong outing for Hill's Serrailler series. ( )
  ehines | Jun 28, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 22 (next | show all)
Part of the appeal of Hill’s novels starring the south of England Detective Chief Superintendant Simon Serrailler is to keep track of how little police work Serrailler actually gets done. It isn’t that he’s lazy; it’s more that he needs time for leisurely dinners, for his award-winning art projects, and, in the recent book, for his wooing of a new girlfriend. In his spare time, he investigates a cold case involving a teenager who was murdered under baffling circumstances 20 years earlier. Hill gets enjoyable mileage out of both the puzzle and Serrailler’s privileged life.
added by VivienneR | editThe Toronto Star, Jack Batten (Feb 25, 2012)
These strands add up to a novel that is as much an examination of society's often contradictory responses to mental infirmity, terminal illness and euthanasia as a crime story. While this may be a problem for those who come to genre fiction with a particular set of expectations, there's no denying that it's an excellent framework for exploring social issues.
added by KayCliff | editGuardian, Laura Wilson (Oct 21, 2011)
It was the ambition of Dorothy L Sayers to write a crime novel with all the virtues of the mainstream literary novel....Susan Hill belongs in this category. Her crime novels, featuring Chief Superintendent Simon Serrailler in the small cathedral city of Lafferton are as much concerned with ethical questions and personal relations as with the solving of crimes. Certainly she gives due attention to these, while never letting the reader forget that there is a mystery to be unravelled. Nor does she downplay the seriousness of murder, though, like Simon, she is aware that murder may be explained and treated sympathetically even though it cannot be excused....What one is aware of throughout is Hill’s keen intelligence, the range of her sympathy and her depth of her moral concern. Her novels are always entertaining but are not only entertainments.

While she never forgets that people read novels for pleasure, and is adept at providing that pleasure, she uses fiction to examine difficult ethical questions about the choices people make and the constraints within which such choices are made. That is why reading these novels, which combine good plots with well-drawn characters and intelligent probing of the way we live now, is so enriching.
Before the English novelist Susan Hill turned to crime fiction, she had established her reputation as a literary writer...Then, a decade or so ago, Hill began to move in a new direction...The result has been her series about Chief Superintendent Simon Serrailler, the top cop in the fictional cathedral town of Lafferton, not far from London. “The Betrayal of Trust” is the sixth novel in the series, and it showcases the virtues, particularly characterization, that a literary writer can bring to the police procedural. It’s a sad novel, filled with illness, death and dying, but beautifully written.
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When a series of flash floods throughout Lafferton exposes the skeleton of a teenager who went missing 20 years earlier, Simon Serrailler investigates the girl's tragic family story and uncovers bizarre complexities and dangers.

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