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

Susan Hill
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (157 customer reviews)
RRP: 7.99
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Book Description

3 Sep 2009 Simon Serrailler 1



A woman vanishes in the fog up on the Hill in Lafferton. The police have one lead - a pair of expensive cuff-links found in her flat, with a mysterious note attached to them.

Then a young girl, an old man and even a dog disappear in quick succession in exactly the same place.

Young policewoman Freya Graffham and Chief Inspector Simon Serrailler are given the task of unravelling the mystery. But can they find the Hill killer before he strikes again?

Frequently Bought Together

The Various Haunts Of Men: Simon Serrailler Book 1 (Simon Serrailler 1) + The Pure In Heart: Simon Serrailler Book 2 (Simon Serrailler 2) + The Risk of Darkness: Simon Serrailler Book 3 (Simon Serrailler 3)
Price For All Three: 17.57

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Product details

  • Paperback: 576 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage (3 Sep 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099534983
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099534983
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (157 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 12,055 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


"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

Introducing Simon Serrailler - The Various Haunts of Men is the first of the Simon Serrailler cases

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
89 of 92 people found the following review helpful
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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42 of 44 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A fantastic read 15 Jun 2005
By SophieM
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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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A why-do-it 11 Jan 2008
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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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An enjoyable crime read 24 Aug 2006
By Watson
This was my first experience of Susan Hill as a crime novelist and I was not disappointed, despite guessing 'whodunnit' quite early on! Initially the number of characters we are introduced to can seem a little overwhelming, but most of them do gradually fit into the story, and I am sure many (the ones not killed off in this one that is) will recur in the next two books, which I will be delving into very soon I hope. There is a slightly unusual style in that Simon Serailler is supposed to be the main character and yet we never actually get into his head in this book, he is just on the fringe, we instead get introduced to his family and background, primarily his sister, the local fact his entire family are doctors or retired doctors...making him the big disappointment of the family! Overall I feel any faults with this story are outweighed by the good points and I will definitely continue to read this series.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Another good book by Susan Hill
Published 5 days ago by Mr Mike Hill
3.0 out of 5 stars Not for the faint hearted!
I found this book disturbing and one that I couldn't read in bed at night! it was well written! but I think a little too much on the dark side of life for me. Read more
Published 6 days ago by Helen
5.0 out of 5 stars Extremely well written with an excellent balance between convincing
Read this and promptly ordered the rest of the series to date. Extremely well written with an excellent balance between convincing, endearing characters and intriguing plot line. Read more
Published 8 days ago by di tunnard
5.0 out of 5 stars 5 stars
Great book.
Published 1 month ago by SusanE
4.0 out of 5 stars It is in very good condition.
Delivery very prompt. I am enjoying reading the book. It is in very good condition.
Published 1 month ago by mrs s harrison-stone
2.0 out of 5 stars oddly uninvolving
This is a very competently written novel but it never really gripped me, either emotionally or with a cracking plot. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Tangerine
1.0 out of 5 stars Remarkable! (For all the wrong reasons)
Sadly I have to give this book one star, not sure if I can give it nil. The book is rife with class prejudice; the only prole who has escaped the fate of drug dealing/drug... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Robert B. Birmingham
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Very happy
Published 1 month ago by PD
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Good story, must read the others
Published 1 month ago by Anne Dean
5.0 out of 5 stars Thoroughly enjoyed
Have read more of this series but not the first books. Similar to Elizabeth George's Inspector Linley books. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Rose Thurman
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