Simon Serrailler is faced with that most complicated of investigations - a cold case.
Freak weather and flash floods all over southern England. Half of Lafferton is afloat. A landslip on the Moor has closed the bypass and, as the rain slowly drains away, a shallow grave - and a skeleton - are exposed.
It doesn't take long to identify the remains as those of the missing teenager, Harriet Lowther, last seen carrying a tennis racket while waiting for a bus. But that was sixteen years ago. How long will it take to trawl through the old, stale evidence and assess it anew? The Lafferton force is struggling with staff shortages and economies, and Simon has to do a lot of the legwork on his own. Meanwhile, his sister, Dr Cat Deerbon, is fighting for extra funding for the hospice which is threatened with cuts and closures.
All the Simon Serrailler novels offer more than merely a murder mystery, and The Betrayal of Trust is no exception: it takes a brave, truthful look at old age and the associated problems of terminal illness which, in the future, will bring our society to the brink of painful conflicts of conscience.
Susan Hill's gifts are displayed here to dazzling effect: her empathy and understanding of the human heart, her brilliance when evoking character and her tremendous powers of exciting storytelling.