This fifth of the Simon Serailler series takes us back to the Cathedral close and town of Lafferton in ever-richer detail. Feeling at home here now it is rewarding to further get to know Simon's recently widowed sister, GP Cat Deebon, and her children; Simon's grumpy father Richard and his new wife, the reasonable, practical, warmly understanding Judith. Don't worry if you haven't read the others of this set, it stands alone quite happily and pointers are given throughout for the newcomer.
The character of Simon Serailler himself is again revealed only in baby steps, this time he is further in the shadows himself, from there gently exerting his benign influence on a new, younger policeman's over exuberant leaping to conclusions. The apparently effete, almost coldly monastic SS is sometimes an enigma; his emotional health, creative artistic powers, his tolerance and frustrations, rarely showing cracks or thaws.
It is the "Shadows in the Street" themselves who take over this volume, where they warmly reward the reader with their humanity, resilience and vulnerability. The new characters created are so well fleshed out; you really care for them and find their different difficulties truly involving. I found the contemporary references together the extra sideways plot lines most enjoyable.
One star off for careless editing (as also noted in `The Beacon'). A repeated riff about the librarian and his colleague, their feelings about new students, and their presence in the library, annoyed.
Altogether an absorbing addition to this group of crime fiction novels that kept me guessing to the end. Susan Hill is gradually revealing her deepest, darkest and most thoughtful side; in creating a society that it is easy to feel very much part of and concerned for.