Synopses & Reviews
A particularly unpleasant murder, that of a very old woman in a housing project, rocks the town of Lafferton. The murderer has left a distinctive "sign" on the body and at the scene of crime. A couple of weeks later, a similar murder occurs, and a month or so later, so does another. Initial investigations discover that the mysterious "sign" left on the body was the calling card of a suspect who was charged with several murders in the northwest of the country, tried but acquitted on the grounds of insufficient evidence. All indications suggest that this person has simply vanished. Or is he right under their noses? Simon Serrailler is obliged to make delve deeper and scratch out answers, in this addictive mystery of surpassing darkness by the bestselling Susan Hill.
"At the outset of Hill's solid seventh procedural featuring police detective Simon Serrailler (after 2011's The Betrayal of Trust), the authorities provide builder Alan Keyes with a new identity to shield him from vigilantes after Keyes is acquitted in 2002 of the savage murders of three elderly women in Yorkshire. Ten years later, similar killings occur on Serrailler's patch. The first victim, 80-year-old widow Elinor Sanders, is found tied to a chair in her home and strangled. In an additional macabre touch, her murderer has also clipped her toenails. Since a scene featuring the thoughts of the now 42-year-old Keyes precedes the discovery of Sanders's corpse, most readers will soon suspect that he's resumed his murderous ways. Not everyone will be engaged by the vicissitudes of Serrailler's personal life (he's dating a married woman with a severely ill husband) that fill the long bloodless sections between Keyes's acquittal and the Sanders murder. Agent: Deborah Schneider, Gelfman-Schneider Literary." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Not all great novelists can write crime fiction, but when one like Susan Hill does it,the result is stunning." -Ruth Rendell
"As every Trollope reader knows, English cathedral towns can be hotbeds of viciousness and vice. And so it is in Lafferton, where Susan Hill sets her thoughtful mysteries." - The New York Times Book Review
"Hill is a fine writer ... Brooding, downright ominous." - Entertainment Weekly
"Crime fans on the lookout for intelligent examples of the genre will enjoy." -Time Out
Susan Hill- the Man Booker Prize nominee and winner of the Whitbread, Somerset Maugham, and John Llewellyn Rhys awards- returns with a gripping mystery "eagerly awaited by all aficionados" (P.D. James).
About the Author
Susan Hill's novels and short stories have won the Whitbread, Somerset Maugham, and John Llewellyn Rhys awards, and the Yorkshire Post Book of the Year, and been shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. She is the author of fifty-six books. The play adapted from her famous ghost story, The Woman in Black, has been running in the West End since 1989; it is also a major feature film starring Daniel Radcliffe. Her crime novels featuring DCS Simon Serrailler are currently being adapted for TV.