Thursday, April 22, 2010

Worth the Wait


My husband didn't believe me last night when I told him to "Be quiet! I want to finish this book! It's a mystery! And I've been waiting for it for nearly a year!"

But it is true. I finished the fourth book in Susan Hill's Simon Serrailler crime series last May and have been waiting expectantly for book five, The Shadows in the Street ever since. I'd had it pre-ordered since October for crying out loud, and it finally arrived in the past couple of weeks. I actually tried to hold off reading it, but it didn't work.

I've written about his series before, here, here, here and here. This is not your typical mystery series. A lot of the story focuses on the people we've come to know over time and about the town they live in. Simon sometimes seems to be a secondary character in his own story! What stands out to me about these books is that the reader usually gets to know the victim before they become a victim. They are never just a nameless, faceless, victim, but a person, sometimes struggling, with a family and job and home and suddenly everything changes.

In this, the fifth installment in the series, someone is murdering prostitutes, but then the pattern changes and other women begin to disappear as well. There are a lot of other things going on, Simon's sister and father have had big changes in their lives, and a new clergyman has arrived at the cathedral who wants to make big changes not appreciated by all.

I cannot put my finger on why I enjoy this series so much. While I enjoy mysteries, it's never just about the mystery for me. I'm much more interested in the people and the setting. Being an anglophile this setting appeals to me particularly. Sadly, I have another wait ahead of me - who knows when or if another book will be forthcoming? I'll be there, ready to read it.

16 comments:

Cornflower said...

I am behind with this series, but what I have read I enjoyed enormously so I must catch up with the others. I know what you mean about finding it hard to put your finger on exactly why they are so engrossing, but they certainly are that.

bermudaonion said...

I agree - oftentimes the mystery's not the best part of a good mystery. This series sounds great!

avisannschild said...

This series sounds great -- I love mysteries that are very character-driven. How graphic are these books? I generally avoid serial-killer books, which is what this latest one sounds like it is...

Cath said...

I must get back to this series. I read the first one and really enjoyed it and am glad to hear it's continued to be rather good.

Staci said...

Sounds like a series worth checking out for sure!

Kay said...

I think I have the first 3 of these around here. I keep meaning to read them. Maybe this will be the year. Glad you enjoyed it so much, Tara.

Claire (The Captive Reader) said...

I'd never heard of this series before, but I'm certainly intrigued! I'm glad that this one was worth your wait!

rhapsodyinbooks said...

I just started this series, thanks to Jenners sending me book one, and I really like it! (now I'm on book 2!)

Hannah Stoneham said...

Sounds brilliant. I love Susan Hill but have not read the series - thank you for recommending - your enthusiasm comes through in every sentence of this review!

Bon weekend!

Hannah

fleurfisher said...

I tend to think of this series as stories that happen to have a mystery element rather than mysteries. If that makes sense! But whatever you call them they are wonderful.

BabelBabe said...

i have to check these out - sounds a bit like Elizabeth George, whose stuff I loved. Or maybe Ruth Rendell's.

Tara said...

Karen, it is such a great series. I hope you do get a chance to read more of it.

Kathy, Exactly! I really enjoy these.

Avisannschild, um, there are a fair amount of serial killers in this series, as well as a child abductor which was disturbing. I think they're probably not as graphic as many books, though.

Cath, it is thanks to you that I read these at all!

Staci, it's certainly worth giving a try!

Kay, I hope you like them. They bring me a lot of pleasure.

Claire, I hadn't really noticed the series either, until another blogger wrote about it.

rhapsodyinbooks, oh good! I hope you like them.

Hannah, thanks for your kind words. It's good to know that you sensed my excitement.

fleurfisher, I agree with you. They could definitely go in the literature section rather than the mystery.

Babelbabe, I haven't read Elizabeth George - maybe I should? But very smart, like Ruth Rendell.

avisannschild said...

Thanks for answering my question! Unfortunately, I think I'll give this series a miss.

Diane said...

Susan Hill is one author that I have been meaning to read. I own several of her books but have to check out the series order before I begin...LOL

Tara said...

avisannschild, no problem!

Diane, she seems to be pretty prolific, writing a lot of different sorts of books.

Les said...

I put this series on my Must Read list after reading yours and Whimpulsive's (SuziQ)glowing reviews. I can't wait! They sound like wonderful books!