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Recently finished this, the sixth in the Serrailler detective series, and just started to find myself thinking that things were beginning to weaken.  I've enjoyed the series up until now, and while I'm not saying that this book has completely turned me off it, this seemed to me to be the weakest so far.


The crime itself, and its eventual conclusion, was, I felt, a bit lame which didn't help but for me the weakness of the book was primarily when Serrailler encountered a certain Rachel Wyatt, and from then on it all felt like it was descending into Mills and Boon territory.  Now I must point out that I have never read a Mills and Boon (no, really!) but they always seem to be held up as the yardstick by which, how shall I put it, soppy romance is measured.  


After their initial encounter there follow many instances where "unspoken thoughts", "meaningful looks", "acute longing" etc. etc. feature; you get the picture by now.  She's married to a man roughly 40 years her senior, also with Parkinson's Disease (I think), so she's "torn between my duty to him but my love for you".  It all got a bit 'reach for the bucket' for me, but I fancy it's not over yet, as I will no doubt find out as and when I tackle the seventh book.


As usual, I continue to like the interactions with the family, but this series needs a really good meaty crime to get stuck into, although I do think the core of this series is as much the characters as the crime element.


Not the best of the series.

Edited by Ragamuffin Gunner
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Sadly I think the series has run out of steam, I loved the earlier ones though.  I do like Susan Hill's writing but she stories also seem to be getting very issue based so she can express her own beliefs about things , such as alternative methods of treating cancer and assisted suicide.  It gets wearing.

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  • 4 months later...

I finished this book this morning and would have to agree with both RG and Viccie when they have said that it is not the strongest book in the series. The crime element of the book was a bit weak but I still found it interesting. From the very beginning of this series I have stated that I read them as much for the family happenings and the life of Serrailler's sister Cat and her family as I do for the crimes. In many ways the crimes are often just a backdrop for the stories concerning the siblings.


I enjoy the way that Hill writes and have found all the books in the series very easy to read. Once again with this book, as with all the others, I only seem to have had any inkling of what had happened just before it is revealed. Although the crime element of this book was a little weak I still did like the way that everything fell into place. In many ways the crimes and their solving seem to be becoming more old fashioned whodunnits rather than modern crime fiction or some cross between the two.


As to Serrailler himself! He is a character that I have always found it difficult to warm to and his love life, or often lack of it in many cases, has never been one of the more appealing aspects of the books for me. I finished this one feeling as if I liked him no more or no less than I had in previous books. I have read a few similar cime series in the past and I would have to say that Simon Serrailler is probably my least favourite leading character. The continued painful descriptions of his constant near misses with varying women throughout the books does become a little wearing after a while.


I can see Viccie's point regarding the various life issues which are bought up in each book. Whether the view points described towards each issue in each book are the feelings of Susan Hill herself we do not know but would have to suspect that they are. I have found some of the issues raied quite interesting but can understand that if the books are being read simply as a crime series that this element of the books could become a little wearing.


Overall I would say that, although not one of the strongest books in this series, I did still enjoy it and will give the next one a go. I had left it a while between books this time so that may have helped with my enjoyment of it. If they were read back to back I can see how they could become annoying.

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