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The Pure In Heart: Simon Serrailler Book 2 [Mass Market Paperback]

Susan Hill
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (84 customer reviews)

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The Pure In Heart: Simon Serrailler Book 2 (Simon Serrailler 2) The Pure In Heart: Simon Serrailler Book 2 (Simon Serrailler 2) 4.0 out of 5 stars (84)
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Book Description

1 Jun 2006
The Pure in Heart is the second of Susan Hill's novels set in the English Cathedral town of Lafferton and featuring the enigmatic policeman, Detective Chief Inspector Simon Serrailler. A little boy is kidnapped as he stands with his satchel at the gate of his home, waiting for his lift to school. A severely handicapped young woman hovers between life and death. An ex-con finds it impossible to stay straight...Haunting and truthful, gripping and convincing, The Pure in Heart is neither a thriller nor a whodunnit, but a fascinating crime novel arising out of character and circumstance.

Frequently Bought Together

The Pure In Heart: Simon Serrailler Book 2 + The Risk of Darkness: Simon Serrailler Book 3 (Simon Serrailler 3) + The Shadows in the Street: Simon Serrailler Book 5 (Simon Serrailer 5)
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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; New edition edition (1 Jun 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099462109
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099462101
  • Product Dimensions: 17.6 x 11 x 3.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (84 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 622,835 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Susan Hill is a prize-winning novelist, having been awarded the Whitbread, Somerset Maugham and John Llewelyn Rhys awards, as well as having been shortlisted for the Booker Prize. She wrote Mrs de Winter, the bestselling sequel to Rebecca, and the ghost story The Woman in Black, which was adapted for the stage and became a great success in the West End. Her books include a collection of exquisite short stories, The Boy Who Taught the Beekeeper to Read, and the highly successful crime novel series about the detective Simon Serrailler. Susan Hill lives in Gloucestershire, where she runs her own small publishing firm, Long Barn Books.

Product Description


"For the first time in years, P.D. James has serious competition" (Philip Oakes Literary Review)

"She draws us so far into her fictitious community that for the duration of the book (and some time afterwards) we too are living there" (Daily Mail)

"Beautifully drawn characters...a tantalising mystery" (Sunday Telegraph)

"Captures sinister atmosphere brilliantly...her characters are drawn with loving detail" (Spectator)

"Highly unsettling" (Daily Telegraph)

Book Description

'Not all great novelists can write crime fiction but when one like Susan Hill does it the result is stunning' - Ruth Rendell

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
63 of 69 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Make up your own mind 15 Aug 2006
By Suencfc
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I was almost put off this book by the negative reviews posted on this site. Ultimately, I bought the book because I was impressed by the first one. I hope other readers will do the same. I found the book thoughtful and interesting and the development of characters unrushed and therefore more to be relished. I trust that the author will reveal more and more as the series develops. It is refreshing to find a book that does not merely rely on gore and forensics but actually tries to put the crimes and the detectives in a more realistic, human context. Far from seeing the author as a middle class person extolling the virtues of the middle class and denigrating the working classes, I thought Susan Hill painted a picture of a middle class family trapped in a very sterile environment, partly of their own making. Neighbours who care more about privacy than community, a woman who has literally no-one to turn to in a crisis. I liked the sympathetic treatment dished out at Dino's cafe and the fact that Nathan is good hearted and prepared to try to help an ex con even when he is hassled by the cons sister. Rough and ready maybe, but the view of Michelle is that she cares about her kids and will keep the family together and make the kids law abiding. Give the book a chance if you liked the first. I think comparisons between Elizabeth George and Susan Hill are more relevant than ones between her and Minette Walters.
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39 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another winner from Susan Hill 3 Jun 2005
By A Customer
Having read the first Simon Serrailler novel, The Various Haunts of Men, it was difficult to believe a) that this was Susan Hill's first foray into the world of crime fiction, and b) that it could get any better. Fortunately, she has proved me wrong with this marvellous, haunting tale of a missing boy, a recently released prisoner and his struggles to remain on the right side of the law, and a sensitive and touching portrayal of a severely handicapped young woman. The characters are immediately real, and stayed with me long after I had closed the book. Their relationships are deftly drawn, their struggles and pain all too believable. The poignant images of the little boy waiting for his lift, alone in the street, not knowing what was about to happen; and of Martha Serrailler, childlike in the nursing home, are desperately touching, and characteristic of Hill's masterful storytelling skills. This is a wonderful, sad, frightening, beautiful book.
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Pure in Heart 1 Sep 2005
Yes this is a gripping book and Susan Hill writes well. However, she overturns what one has come to expect from the genre in leaving the mystery (and other threads) unresolved, in a "real life" mimicry, whilst having unbelievable characters to people her book. This leaves the book unsatisfying. Real life has enough unsolved crime and I prefer to have at least the main questions answered. Yes, I know it may be valid for the book to explore the impact of crime upon its victims and the community but it is frustrating to be left as one is at the end of this book. Furthermore, SH deliberately plays with the reader - making them expect certain things only to thwart, offering nothing in return. Again, some may see this as a valid departure in the genre but her PD James-ish settings (in part) tease and tempt the reader to expect some resolution.
The characters: stereotyped criminal/housing estate dwellers; sickeningly self-satisfied doctor-class.....and I do think SS is a copy of AD! But it is a page-turner; I just don't know if I'll bother with another.
I would recommend Strange Meeting as her best book and a masterpiece.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An engrossing progression 8 Oct 2009
By bookelephant TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
The reviewer who says "neither fish nor fowl" describes a number of features about this book accurately. And as she says, it may well annoy a lot of people. However I would encourage potential readers who were interested by book 1 to go on into book 2, which many will enjoy nonethelss - I certainly did.
Yes, the central case is (in this book) unresolved - but this reflects the way that life often does not offer us a neat timetable, or a positive resolution when we want one. Yes, characters are introduced only to disappear - but not everyone who touches or illuminates a problem or a time in one's life does continue in the picture - again this is a more complicated reality than most crime novels allow. Also broken is the convention about never engaging your sympathy for a character who is about to die horribly - but the real liveliness and lovableness of the victim is the cornerstone of the tragedy of real murder. To me it seems that what Susan Hill is engaged in in this series is a prolonged series of questions about how each of us should be trying to do our duty when confronted by loss and grief - how do we hold the line when the worst happens? As a result they are distinctly downbeat, and challenging - but worth it!
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing 10 Oct 2005
By A Customer
This book for me didn't live up to expectations. The whole thing felt unsatisfying -there were so many loose ends (including lack of a major plot resolution)that I felt cheated. It was almost as if this was Part 1 of a two part novel, though there is no mention of a sequel. In addition the major character, Simon Serrailler, doesn't come off. Susan Hill attempts to present him as a complex, rounded character, but (unlike the great fictional detectives) he is not lovable or fascinating in spite of his faults. He comes across as cold, priggish and (dare I say) a bit cardboardy.
A third thing I didn't much like was the character stereotyping. Part of the book is set on one of Lafferton's council estates. Has Susan Hill ever been on one? I ask only because of the snobbish presentation of the council estate characters - straight out of the "Daily Mail", all thickoes who live on chips and fry-ups and keep the telly on 18hours a day. I can hear the disdain in the author's voice when she mentions a character preparing "white toast". (Heaven's above! Well, we all know these working class types have never heard of wholemeal) So I ended the book liking Susan Hill rather less, which was a pity. I have enjoyed many of her "straight" novels and so much wanted to love this book, but couldn't. It is readable and well-written, which is why I gave it a 3, but it could have been so much better.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great service, value for money.
Published 7 days ago by SES
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
I enjoyjed all the books in this series
Published 8 days ago by j.Wiggin
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Typically well written with several 'strands' of story interlocking. Characters very well drawn.
Published 12 days ago by Diana Richmond
5.0 out of 5 stars interesting and sympathetic hero
cracking mystery as usual, the main character has lots of character and is a complicated but sympathetic person.
Published 15 days ago by H. Davies
4.0 out of 5 stars Crime novel with a twist but loose ends
I've read many crime novels by leading authors, but this is the first to end without plot resolution. Read more
Published 16 days ago by MR MICHAEL FLETCHER
5.0 out of 5 stars couldnt put it down
was really good did not expect ending have already started next book
Published 16 days ago by Lynndavid
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Thoroughly enjoyable with a better outline of the characters than in 'book one'
Published 1 month ago by ernie
5.0 out of 5 stars Not simply a crime novel but more a study of ...
Not simply a crime novel but more a study of human nature and the way we respond to life's crises. Yes, the crime mysteries give an sense of compulsion, but the exploration of... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Irene
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Love this series of books and getting good second hand books is a bonus.
Published 2 months ago by kimberleycat
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
A good read, I enjoy Simon Serrailler books but no neat resolution with this one.
Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
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