Series to Savour 6 – Susan Hill’s Simon Serrailler mysteries

Several years ago, I read a mystery called “The various haunts of men“. It remains as one of my favorite mysteries to this day.  It is only fitting then, that I feature Susan Hill in my ‘Series to Savour‘ blog series.

The late, great, Ruth Rendell said “Not all great novelists can write crime fiction but when one like Susan Hill does the result is stunning”.

About Susan Hill (from the author’s website)

Susan Hill’s writing career has encompassed acclaimed literary novels, ghost stories, children’s books, detective novels and memoirs. She has won the Whitbread, Somerset Maugham and John Llewelyn Rhys awards, as well as having been shortlisted for the Booker Prize. The Woman in Black, her terrifying ghost story, is still running as a play in the West End and is now a successful film.  She has established her own publishing imprint, Long Barn BooksShe now lives in a Gloucestershire farmhouse where she has been known to whistle… a lot!

The multi-award-winning author has been writing professionally for over 50 years! Besides being more than adept as a mystery novelist, she has also written quite a few ghost stories.  Probably the most famous of her ‘ghost stories’ was “The woman in black” which was adapted into an acclaimed feature film, starring Daniel Radcliffe, which came out in 2012.

eerie screenshot of a scene from the movie version of “A woman in black” starring Daniel Radcliffe

Her protagonist, Simon Serrailler, is a police Chief Inspector working in Lafferton, a small cathedral town in England.  To others he appears enigmatic and aloof – a loner. He comes from an upper middle class background.  Women find him very attractive.  He is an artist in his spare time. He is emotionally damaged.

I’ll admit that in the very first Simon Serrailler novel, he doesn’t play a huge part, though his character is introduced and his backstory explained so as to ‘set up’ the series. The limelight of the first novel falls on Freya Graffham, a rookie policewoman who is partnered with Serrailler on the missing persons case which the novel is centered around.  I really liked Freya and sympathized with her and her feelings of ‘getting in over her head‘.

I think most fiction books should contain maps.  I was delighted to find a map of the fictional town of Lafferton in the front of “The various haunts of men“. Susan Hill has compared her fictional town to both Exeter and Salisbury.

map of the fictional English cathedral town of Lafferton

This series (which began in 2004) is an intelligent addition to the British police procedural mystery where the crimes play second fiddle to the characters.

There is also talk of a television adaptation.  ITV plans to make the crime drama a long-running series, with the broadcaster said to be viewing the show as a modern-day Morse. I personally cannot wait!


The eight novels featuring Simon Serrailler are:

The author has also written two short stories featuring DCI Simon Serrailler which were released as Kindle singles:

The prolific Susan Hill is the author of over 55 works including fiction, collections of short stories, non-fiction, and children’s literature.  Her bibliography can be found here.

my favorite photo of Susan Hill

Susan Hill in quotes

An interview with Susan Hill

I’d love to hear from you if you’ve read any of the Simon Serrailler series –
or if you plan to.

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About Fictionophile

Fiction reviewer ; Goodreads librarian. Retired library cataloger - more time to read! Loves books, gardening, and red wine. I have been a reviewer member of NetGalley since October 2013. I review titles offered by Edelweiss, and participate in blog tours with TLC Book Tours.
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6 Responses to Series to Savour 6 – Susan Hill’s Simon Serrailler mysteries

  1. pennygadd51 says:

    I hadn’t realised that Susan Hill had written crime fiction, even though I’d read several of her other books. “Strange Meeting” is amazing. I wonder how on earth she could have imagined the scenes of war; her words carry absolute conviction. Anyway, thank you for the introduction to Simon Serailler!

    Like

    • Fictionophile says:

      I hope you have the opportunity to read Susan Hill’s crime fiction. She is an amazing talent. Thanks for your comment.

      Like

  2. skyecaitlin says:

    This is a wonderful post; I have never read Susan Hill, but I love the name Simon, I love the setting; her first Simon book has been on my TBR list for awhile, and my close friend has seen and enjoyed the film Woman in Black. I am won over, I believe, and thank you.

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  3. Great post. I haven’t read any Susan Hill books and it sounds as though I’m really missing out.

    Caryl x

    Like

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