THE SHADOWS IN THE STREET by Susan Hill

Book Quote:

“The hardest part is trying to find a way of accepting that there is nothing you can do about any of it. Nothing you can do to change it, or to put the clock back, or put things right if they were wrong.”

Book Review:

Review by Eleanor Bukowsky (SEP 3, 2010)

Susan Hill’s The Shadows in the Street is her fifth Simon Serrallier mystery. Hill continues to engage us with fresh characters and intriguing story lines. Simon does not even appear in the early chapters, since he is vacationing on a remote Scottish island, “where people did not hurry and there was little noise other than the sounds of nature.” Back in Lafferton, Simon’s twin sister, Dr. Cat Deerborn, is worried about her oldest child, Sam, who is upset but stubbornly uncommunicative, “an oyster, closed up tight.”

The most compelling aspect of this novel is its frank depiction of young women who walk the streets trying to earn quick money.  Some of them “were probably no more than twenty, thin, hollow-eyed, their legs without tights under the short strips of skirt.” One of them, Abi Righton, has a small son and daughter whom she adores. She never touches drugs and, against all odds, dreams of going to college and getting a proper job. When a killer begins stalking and strangling prostitutes, Detective Chief Superintendent Serrallier and his team work tirelessly to find a clever and elusive murderer.

Hill’s well-delineated characters include fifty-three year old Leslie Blade, a solitary and eccentric librarian who lives with his homebound mother; Jonty Lewis, a vicious bully and drug addict who enjoys abusing women; Ruth Webber, the bossy and obnoxious wife of the new Dean of St. Michael’s cathedral; Judith, Simon and Cat’s sympathetic and gentle stepmother; and Ben Vanek, an ambitious Detective Sergeant who worships Simon. When no quick solution to the murders is forthcoming, the media and Simon’s boss impatiently demand results. Soon, Serrallier’s pleasant holiday fades to a distant memory as he directs his team to study CCTV tapes, distribute leaflets, and interview potential witnesses.

The Shadows in the Street is a grim tale about the ways in which people deal with bereavement, abject loneliness, and chronic mental illness. The author depicts the terrible plight of desperate single mothers who sell the only commodity that they have—themselves– in order to put food on the table and a roof over their heads. This is an engrossing police procedural in which a frustrated Simon faces the possibility that he may fail to solve an important case, Cat struggles to emerge from her year of misery, and a shadowy individual with a hidden agenda wreaks havoc on a lovely cathedral town. For maximum enjoyment, this series should be read in order, starting with The Various Haunts of Men.

AMAZON READER RATING: stars-4-0from 9 readers
PUBLISHER: Overlook Hardcover (September 2, 2010)
REVIEWER: Eleanor Bukowsky
AVAILABLE AS A KINDLE BOOK? Not Yet
AUTHOR WEBSITE: Susan Hill
EXTRAS: Excerpt
MORE ON MOSTLYFICTION: Read our review of:

Partial Bibliography:

Simon Serrailler Mystery Series:

Nonfiction:


September 3, 2010 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , ,  · Posted in: Sleuths Series, United Kingdom, y Award Winning Author

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