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A Question of Identity by Susan Hill
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A Question of Identity

by Susan Hill

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Showing 1-5 of 17 (next | show all)
Always enjoy this writer. This series has been pleasing from the start, still has not hit the humdrum wall to which many mystery series succumb. ( )
  kmajort | Feb 9, 2018 |
The serial killer of elderly women is, to everyone's shock, found not guilty at trial. He is given a new identity for his own protection. Then 10 years later, elderly women start to be found murdered in Lafferton in exactly the same way as before.

That synopsis makes the book sound pacier than it really is. The first present-day murder does not take place until page 136. Before that Simon holidays with Sam, Molly struggles with her mental health, Judith and Richard are having marital problems, Simon and Rachel are still enjoying the angst that is their relationship etc etc.

The body count within a matter of a few days was rather alarming and, while the whole fresh identity thing was interesting, the chapters from the perspective of the killer didn't make a great deal of sense to me. There were very well-written chapters, like the one where Lynne Keyes expects a violent reception from her newly acquitted husband, but eventually finds he is not even home. On the other hand, the parts about Molly and Jocelyn didn't add anything to the plot of this novel and are only really of interest if you have read the earlier instalments.

The more I read these novels, the more I think that Simon is a pretty mediocre policeman and a terrible romantic interest. His sister is the best thing about him. ( )
  pgchuis | May 30, 2017 |
A Question of Identity by Susan Hill
Simon Serrailler series Book #7
4.5 Stars

From The Book:
A particularly unpleasant murder, that of a very old woman in a housing project, rocks the town of Lafferton. The murderer has left a distinctive "sign" on the body and at the scene of crime. A couple of weeks later, a similar murder occurs, and a month or so later, so does another.

Initial investigations discover that the mysterious "sign" left on the body was the calling card of a suspect who was charged with several murders in the northwest of the country, tried but acquitted on the grounds of insufficient evidence. All indications suggest that this person has simply vanished. Or is he right under their noses? Simon Serrailler is obliged to make delve deeper and scratch out answers,

My Thoughts:
I really like that Susan Hill has kept the setting of Lafferton, and the characters constant throughout this series. It gives the reader the opportunity to build somewhat of a bond with them. One bond I didn't build was with the murderer that was not only sheltered but given a new identity. This just didn't seem plausible to me. The book also didn't move along quiet as smoothly as her previous books had too many unsolved side stories and took way too long to actually get underway. All the other books in this series have received 4.5 & 5 stars from me...but I just don't feel this one can get more than 4. ( )
  Carol420 | Mar 19, 2017 |
A thoroughly enjoyable series: intelligent and engaging. ( )
  Gingermama | Jan 24, 2016 |
This starts with a flashback to a trial: a man is found not guilty of three murders. Elderly, vulnerable women. Such is the public outcry that he is given a new identity.
Lafferton, ten years later. A woman is killed. Elderly, vulnerable, murdered the same way as those three women in 2002. But how can Simon Serrailler track down a villain who doesn’t exist: the man was given a new name, a new face, a new identity and was relocated. But we’re talking about murder, so surely one police department will help another?
This is an intriguing premise, all too believable. As ever with Hill’s novels, this is efficient and chilling. She introduces us to prospective villains, each seems a little questionable: but are we being unfair, reading something into signs that don’t exist, generalising, making assumptions? In parallel with the introduction of prospective villains, we are also shown prospective victims.
Whilst Simon Serrailler deals with this emotional case, his own heart is being pulled between love and guilt, and his sister Cat must manage two warring children.
An excellent tale which keeps the pages turning, an examination of the jury system. When ‘not guilty’ can be the wrong verdict, when ‘with reasonable doubt’ can condemn more vulnerable women. A disturbing take on the efficiency of our justice system.
Read more of my book reviews at http://www.sandradanby.com/book-reviews-a-z/ ( )
  Sandradan1 | Oct 22, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 17 (next | show all)
One of the reasons why these novels are so much better than the common run of crime fiction is that the characters are confronted by moral or ethical questions which, on the face of it, have no connection with the murder or murders that the police have to solve, but which nevertheless are contingent to them. Hill makes us see that the crimes which attract the attention of the police are only one example, or perhaps, an extension of what Nicholas Freeling called “the pathology of the human condition, the moment after, it may be, a long drawn-out disturbance or perversion, at which the delicate balance of metabolism tilts into morbidity.”
added by KayCliff | editThe Scotsman, Alan Massie (Oct 27, 2012)
 
added by KayCliff | editExpress, Christopher Bray (Sep 28, 2012)
 
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"He keeps trophies. They usually do. Sometimes they cut a lock of hair. Quite a few sadistic killers of younger women, prostitutes and so on, have been known to take pubic hair. In this case it might be nail clippings."
"'Forget everything.' That's what they said. So I did. Almost. But I didn't forget how it feels.... I remembered all right. Remembered pretty well.... Still, I've got my little reminders, just in case. They never knew about those. Nobody's ever known. My little reminders."
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Book description
Susan Hill- the Man Booker Prize nominee and winner of the Whitbread, Somerset Maugham, and John Llewellyn Rhys awards- returns with a gripping mystery "eagerly awaited by all aficionados" (P.D. James).

A particularly unpleasant murder, that of a very old woman in a housing project, rocks the town of Lafferton. The murderer has left a distinctive "sign" on the body and at the scene of crime. A couple of weeks later, a similar murder occurs, and a month or so later, so does another.

Initial investigations discover that the mysterious "sign" left on the body was the calling card of a suspect who was charged with several murders in the northwest of the country, tried but acquitted on the grounds of insufficient evidence. All indications suggest that this person has simply vanished. Or is he right under their noses? Simon Serrailler is obliged to make delve deeper and scratch out answers, in this addictive mystery of surpassing darkness by the bestselling Susan Hill.
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A particularly unpleasant murder, that of a very old woman in a housing project, rocks the town of Lafferton. The murderer has left a distinctive "sign" on the body and at the scene of crime. A couple of weeks later, a similar murder occurs, and a month or so later, so does another. Initial investigations discover that the mysterious "sign" left on the body was the calling card of a suspect who was charged with several murders in the northwest of the country, tried but acquitted on the grounds of insufficient evidence. All indications suggest that this person has simply vanished. Or is he right under their noses? Simon Serrailler is obliged to make delve deeper and scratch out answers.… (more)

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