"Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God."
I listened to this second book in Susan Hill's Simon Serrailler series and enjoyed it almost as much as the first one. The Pure In Heart is also narrated by the wonderful voice of Steven Pacey. It's very soothing. And for that I was glad.
This book begins with Simon on a holiday in Venice. It's been a year since the traumatic events that occurred in The Various Haunts of Men. DCI Serrailler is still recovering, as are other members of his family and team at home. Simon receives a call from his father asking him to come home. His younger sister, Martha, is gravely ill and may not recover from a severe bout of pneumonia. Martha is the youngest Serrailler child. She lives in a specialized care center for individuals that are profoundly disabled. After returning, Simon gets caught up in a case of child abduction. A 9-year-old boy has been taken by persons unknown while waiting for his carpool ride to school. The family is frantic with worry and DCI Serrailler and his CID cohorts move into action, searching everywhere for the missing child.
The Pure In Heart is an apt name for this book, for there are several individuals who are indeed innocents and whose plights, be it victims of crime or disease, touch the reader deeply. As in the first book, discussions of philosophical topics are a part of the narrative. Quality of life versus quantity, especially in persons who seem unable to comprehend or communicate, like Martha Serrailler. The tender scenes with Simon at Martha's bedside are quite touching. And the little child who has been taken, the grief that his family experiences as the days go on is heartbreaking. The parents of that boy, David, go almost mad with sorrow, essentially forgetting that they have another child who needs them too.
And on the happy side of things, Simon's sister, Dr. Cat Deerbon, is pregnant and nearing her due date. The child she delivers is another innocent, pure of heart, born into a family that is filled with love. All of this and more are included in this involved crime novel. There's a stalker and a car theft ring. Also a young man who has been released from prison and seems to have no options. The Pure In Heart is a well written book that makes the reader want to pick up the third in the series very soon. By the way, that book is entitled The Risk of Darkness and I'll likely be listening to it as soon as I can.
I'm so pleased that I finally took time to read this marvelous series. It's one I can recommend if you like well written character studies that also include some crime solving.