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The Various Haunts Of Men: Simon Serrailler Book 1 (Simon Serrailler 1)
 
 

The Various Haunts Of Men: Simon Serrailler Book 1 (Simon Serrailler 1) [Kindle Edition]

Susan Hill
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (170 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Review

"A gripping whodunnit and a subtle study of the mind of a psychopath" (Daily Mail)

"I loved this book. Masterly and satisfying" (Ruth Rendell)

"This book must be judged as a potential successor to the great sequences of detective writing by PD James and Ruth Rendell...excellent" (Daily Telegraph)

"She has the priceless ability to construct a solidly-researched narrative that keeps the reader turning the pages" (Independent)

"Hill's first crime novel has a grip of steel" (Woman and Home)

Book Description

Susan Hill turns to crime...'I loved this book...Not all great novelists can write crime fiction but when Susan Hill does the result is stunning' Ruth Rendell (2004-09-22)

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 606 KB
  • Print Length: 448 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1590200276
  • Publisher: Vintage Digital (27 Jun 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0055CS3X4
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (170 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #770 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.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
95 of 98 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
I practice in the English criminal courts, and usually avoid crime novels on a "busman's holiday" pretext; more often than not, however, the pedant in me corrects procedural and legal details as I read. Not the best way to relax whilst reading!

However, there were no such problems with "The Various Haunts of Men". Meticulously well researched, the author illuminates but never lectures on police practice and procedures, and gets even minor but tricky detail correct, such as the appropriate use of a search warrant.

But it is not as a lawyer's procedural primer that the book succeeds. It's just a damn good page-turner. The bite-sized chapters give pace; the characters and settings are thoroughly modern and thoroughly English, always a good thing; and the Serrailler family themselves are a most intriguing set of characters of whom I look forward to reading much more of.

It's also fun, if one is familiar with England and its county and cathedral towns, to guess at the closest match to Lafferton and Bevham. My best guess is that the former is Winchester to the latter's Southampton. No doubt others will have their own views.

An excellent story, with a most unexpected and unconventional twist. A good summer/winter/autumn/spring read. You'll want to read the whole series in one sitting after finishing this riveting book.
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44 of 47 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A fantastic read 15 Jun 2005
By SophieM
Format:Paperback
For fans of the PD James/Ruth Rendell et al genre like myself, the wait between books can be nothing short of excruciating. It's with almost indecent enthusiasm, therefore, that one snaps up a new book by a new writer (new to me anyway, as I've never read Susan Hill's literary fiction). Often, though, new writers disappoint, as can authors' attempts to forge a niche for themselves in a new market - but that's certainly not the case with The Various Haunts of Men.
This is a great read - a gripping, page-turning thriller with engaging characters, a tight and twisting plot, and a strong sense of place and time. The suspense is sustained right through to the end, and the twists of the plot are gradually revealed so that the reader solves the mystery alongside the characters. It's packed with detail too - the seemingly trivial minutiae of modern life are described with a clarity that enriches the plausibility of characters and storyline.
Highly recommended - I'm sorely tempted to rush out and purchase the second in the series in hardback when the withdrawal symptoms kick in!
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A why-do-it 11 Jan 2008
By Jeremy Walton TOP 1000 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
My wife and daughter read this a year or so ago, and I picked it up over Christmas. It has a compelling beginning: the first chapter plunges you straight into the mind of the killer, while the second one follows one of the victims on her way to her death. After that, there's a variety of different characters and storylines, only some of which are tied in to the tale of the police's attempts to catch the murderer. The characters are for the most part well-realised and believable, although occasionally the touch of the author falters: at one point, a 'hard-hitting journalist' goes home to "the barn conversion she shared with her lover, county rugby captain Jon Blixen" (p285). Since Jon Blixen doesn't appear anywhere else in the story (and the journalist herself is only in the book for a couple of chapters), this reads like the sort of hastily cobbled-together, slapdash writing that you'd expect in something as bad as a Dan Brown novel.

As others have commented, the supposed hero ('enigmatic detective' Simon Serrailler) is kept so far in the background of this story that I was even beginning to wonder if he was going to turn out to be the killer. Certainly, the way he's only sketched in makes it a little difficult to believe the instantaneous attraction felt by the heroine, 'compassionate, inquisitive, pretty' Freya Graffham. This part of the story seems as if it's been transplanted from another book, and I think it's something of a distraction from the most interesting element - namely, the attempt to analyse and portray the motives of a serial killer in a plausible fashion. Since it's hard for us to understand why anyone would think that killing lots of people would be a good idea, this is a challenging task, but the author makes a good attempt; if it's ultimately unsuccessful, I think it's because of the difficulties in keeping the other strands of the tale moving forward at the same time.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not a crime novel, but an enjoyable read 19 Dec 2009
By Roman Clodia TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
The publishers of this book have done themselves no favours by calling this a `crime' novel on the front cover and I suspect this is the source of the negative reviews this and its sequels have garnered on here. In fact, while there is a crime, a serial killer and even a police investigation, these are all just a part of the overall shape of the book, rather than its heart.

Hill seems to me to be interested in portraying a town and its characters, one of whom happens to be a killer, rather than writing a conventional crime story. So readers expecting this to be a mystery will be disappointed by what appears to be padding irrelevant to the crime. If, however, you approach this as a contemporary novel, perhaps your experience will be difference.

I enjoyed this novel a lot: Simon Serrailler is enigmatic and enticing and I am looking forward to learning more about him in the later books. I also didn't feel, as some reviewers here did, that his family were smug, middle-class clichés.

So not great literature but an immensely readable book that has definitely left me wanting more.
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