Books, life the universe

Sunday, 4 April 2010

The Shadows in the Street

I've spent the last two evenings reading The Shadows in the Street by Susan Hill which is the latest in her Simon Serrailler series. There were many people who criticised the previous book - The Vows of Silence - for concentrating on the less inspiring aspects of Simon's character. To a certain extent I could see the point of the criticisms though it was still a good book. The same criticism cannot be levelled at this latest one.

Simon is recalled from a holiday on a Scottish Island because of the murder of a prostitute. But this is not the end of the problems in Lafferton. The Cathedral Close is in uproar because of a modernising Dean and his interfering wife - shades of Trollope here! When Ruth Webber, the Dean's wife, disappears and the Dean himself appears to have something to hide the stakes suddenly become higher. The reader gets to know some of the prostitutes - Abi and Hayley and their children. I thought their lives were well done showing their struggle against poverty and the authorities while they try to do the best for their children.

The suspects are many and varied and when another prostitute is murdered the investigation becomes more complex. Cat - Simon's sister - becomes involved because she is the GP of many of the people mixed up in the police investigations. The book follows the people affected by the crimes and involved in the police investigation. Simon is calmer and more stable in this book and Cat is gradually coming to terms with being a widow. I found the book gripping reading and read nearly 200 pages of it last night alone. The style is as ever understated and low key, the characters well drawn and believable.

If you were slightly put off this series by the last book - try this one - you will not be disappointed.


Leigh Russell said...

She does write beautifully. That makes up for a lot, in my opinion. So many authors are sloppy and slapdash. If someone claims to be an author they have a duty to at least try to write well. (I hope you didn't notice any slip ups in my book...)

Jilly said...

I didn't notice any slip ups in your book - which was one of the reasons why I enjoyed it. Clunky sentences will put me off if there are too many! Susan Hill does write beautifully though I know there are many people who are not too keen on her Simon Serrailler series.