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The Shadows in the Street: Simon Serrailler Book 5 (Simon Serrailer 5)

The Shadows in the Street: Simon Serrailler Book 5 (Simon Serrailer 5) [Kindle Edition]

Susan Hill
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (72 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Amazon Review

The Shadows in the Street is the latest example of crime fiction from the talented Susan Hill. Hill, of course, has shown that she is adept at a variety of literary forms, notably the supernatural story -- where it can safely be said that she has few peers. But crime fans were pleased when she began to write about the detective Simon Serrailler -- pleased, that is, after an initial reluctance to accept that this creator of wonderfully distinctive ghost stories could make a mark in such an overcrowded field of crime fiction. But five books into the series, it is clear that Serrailler (and his well-characterised team) are here to stay.

Serrailler has just put the final touches to a particularly challenging at assignment for SIFT (The Special Incident Flying Task force) and is enjoying a well-earned rest on a sedate Scottish island. But his sabbatical is rudely interrupted when he is called back to Lafferton. Two prostitutes in the area have disappeared; their bodies are subsequently discovered -- both women have been strangled. Is the killer a disturbed individual with a pathological hatred of prostitutes, as was felt to be the case with the most famous serial killer of all, Jack the Ripper? There is, however, more to the town of Lafferton then its red light district -- the Cathedral close holds a very different position in the social strata, but has its own problems -- notably a particularly acrimonious series of ecclesiastical squabbles. As Serrailler desperately tries to track down a vicious murderer, he is all too aware that the clock is ticking. Then a piece of luck moves events along in a very surprising fashion.

Hill's particular achievement in The Shadows in the Street is to maintain two very different narratives simultaneously, while not allowing the more sensational of the two plot strands to overcome the more intimate one. There will always be those (this reviewer included) who would be happy if Hill were to spend the rest of her life producing her superlative ghost stories, but few will be complaining about her forays into the crime fiction field when she turns out books as authoritative as this. --Barry Forshaw


"A crime tale with an emotional core" (Herald)

"Nothing's quite as it seems, except Hill's brilliantly compelling prose" (Daily Mirror)

"Susan Hill's Serrailler novels, with their persuasively-drawn copper and his equally well-rounded family, are real treats" (Barry Forshaw Daily Express)

"Susan Hill is extremely rare if not unique in having achieved enormous literary success in two genres, that of so-called straight novels and crime fiction... Deeply engrossing and enjoyable" (Antonia Fraser The Lady)

"There's something reassuringly Victorian about Hill's literary values" (Jane Jakeman Independent)

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 530 KB
  • Print Length: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Digital (27 Jun 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0055CS5SM
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (72 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #5,739 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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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.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
96 of 100 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent - but is it detective fiction? 31 Mar 2010
By bookelephant TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Dorothy L Sayers called "Busman's Honeymoon" "A love story with detective interruptions". I am increasingly convinced that Susan Hill's excellent Simon Serrailler series is a family or perhaps a community story with detective interruptions. This is particularly noticeable in this book because the echoes of Trollope which have been present throughout the series become very insistent with the arrival in the cathedral close of ringers for Dr and Mrs Proudie and their tame canon. All ecclesiastical hell is forthwith let loose in the form of the High Church/Low Church antipathy (including the spats over music) so integral to Barchester Towers. But here the extra spice is added not by the problem of who is to be warden of the hospital, but by divisions amongst the church helpers as to how best to deal with Lafferton's emerging and complex prostitution problem. And hence, as two prostitutes are killed, we slide into the detective interruptions; Simon returns from leave to take over the murder enquiry and to welcome two bright new faces to his team (though past form with Hill leaves one doubtful as to whether they will be with us for many books - for her the powerful relationships lie outside the environment of work). The detective elements this time seem generally pretty unrewarding for all involved (which one suspects is far nearer to the truth than many detective novels would have us believe) - some pretty obvious leads are chased up to no great effect, the press have to be kept at bay and the teams motivated while a lot of no progress is made and more women - one even from the hallowed precincts of the Close disappear. Read more ›
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Shadows in the Street 1 Jun 2010
We have read each of the four previous Serrailler novels but we are also reading a collection of Peter James and Mark Billingham detective novels/books at the same time. Normally Susan Hill's novels are the red wine to James' Stella Artois style - hers smooth and cultured as against James' more brash and shocking approach. The latest Hill piece, however, seems to lack that depth and finish - not sure why but some characters appear, you gain insight, and then they die and disappear, and other potential suspects seem too obviously written out of it too early. Enjoyed reading what feels like an old friend - just feel less moved by the experience than I would have liked.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Subtle and unsentimental 24 April 2010
By Roman Clodia TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Susan Hill's Serrailler books are one of the best series currently being written: using the genre of the crime novel as a skeleton upon which to hang her stories, she supercedes the genre in lots of ways which has led to her books being dismissed as disappointing. Strictly speaking, they're books in which a crime takes place, rather than books which pursue the investigation and come to a neat and tidy conclusion. Instead she concentrates on the people touched by the crime, and unpeels the layers of their lives to reveal them to us.

This book focuses on the seamy underside of middle-class cathedral town Lafferton which has not been explored in previous books. It's a fine antidote to the recent rather worrying glamorisation of prostitution in Belle du Jour etc., without ever descending to either to sentimental or the judgemental. Hill is an extremely controlled writer, though she hides it well, and so there are no clumsy insertions of moral or social indignation here, instead these young women are painted just as people: flawed, inept, self-delusional, but also incredibly courageous. Abi, in particular, is an incredibly moving portrait of a woman who is a mother first and a prostitute only second.

Hill, as ever, is an acute observer of character (e.g. Ruth Webber who laughs 'often and loudly' but never smiles), and manages to create vignettes (e.g. Leah) that make us really care about a character in just a few pages. In this sense she is as indebted to Dickens as she is to Trollope, the allusions to whom are more pointed here, as other reviewers have pointed out. And like her predecessors'these are incredibly robust novels which never shy away from pain, death and the sheer sadness of people's lives.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not one of her best !! 16 Nov 2013
By David H J Ashdown TOP 500 REVIEWER
Fairly good novel about prostitutes being systematically murdered in Lafferton with plenty of red herrings thrown in for good measure but in the end you could not have deduced the actual miscreant. Also there was much to much waffle and irrelevant padding especially at the start of the book and the first murder didn't occur until you were at least a third way through the story. I've read one more of her books but after this offering I doubt I'll bother continuing with the series although they're well written and good to pass a few hours if you've nothing better to do.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Far better than the previous two 26 Jan 2013
By anniew
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
At last, more of a story around the crimes. A much better book than the previous two, although I do think Serrailler could do with a bit more depth but I did enjoy this book.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
By Mrs. Katharine Kirby TOP 100 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
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.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Series
Have read all these in the series just waiting for number 8.You get very hooked on Simon and his family
Published 13 days ago by Kate
5.0 out of 5 stars another great read
A very clever story, I was left guessing right until the end. Not too sure about the new DS only time will tell if he truly fits the bill. Read more
Published 18 days ago by Brian Thomas
5.0 out of 5 stars Love this series
Great series - I read them all in just a couple of weeks and could not put them down. Excellent.
Published 21 days ago by Helen Kaye
5.0 out of 5 stars Shadows in the st
This series is gripping the more you get involved with the characters,interesting twists n has you guessing so I'm onto the next one
Published 23 days ago by dianne
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent series of stories about Simon Serrailler and the town of...
Great series of books. Unfortunately I didn't need realise there was a series in order and read number6 and 7 before realising there was 1-5 to read as well. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Pen Name
5.0 out of 5 stars captivating
The twist and turns of the crime and I also like the family dramas going on in all her books.
Published 1 month ago by hazel dewsbery
4.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic series
Very easy read but that doesn't mean the quality of the writing is poor. On the contrary. The characters are well drawn and great stories with outcomes that take you by surprise. Read more
Published 2 months ago by joanna h morrison
4.0 out of 5 stars Read them in sequence
This is the 5th book I have read in the series, and I have two more to read, I am saving them for holiday reading. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Pauline Morgan
5.0 out of 5 stars A gripping tale
This is book seven in the Simon Serrailler series, and I have voraciously read all of them . prior to reading the first, it wasn't a genre I would have bought.
Published 4 months ago by Claire Voyant
5.0 out of 5 stars Susan Hill
I ordered this book for a neighbour who has all her other books in this series. She was so pleased to receive this latest one.
Published 5 months ago by penelope stephens
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