.

.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

The Vows of Silence by Susan Hill

I'm not sure how I can express how very happy I am that I began listening to Susan Hill's series featuring Simon Serrailler, his friends and colleagues and his family.  It has suited me so well and I now have completed the 4th book, The Vows of Silence.  Again, I listened to this book read by Steven Pacey, who is fast becoming a favorite narrator of mine.  It's hard to describe what has made these books so lovely for me.  This is not an ordinary crime novel series - at least not in my experience.  There is a combination of crime solving/mystery, family dynamics of the Serrailler bunch and their extended group of friends, and also the inclusion of philosophical discussions.  This might include spiritual issues, for Lafferton is a cathedral town, or new age/holistic beliefs, or medical/psychological angles.  After all, the Serraillers are doctors, except for Simon.  The melding of these factors has made the narratives very well suited to audio.  I'm going to share a quote and then explain more about this book's story.

In this scene, Jane Fitzroy, a female priest who was a major character in a previous book, is visiting a convent where she has spent some time thinking about her future.  And I felt like I was there with her:

Silence.  The most astonishing palpable silence she had ever known.  It filled her with a sense of calm now, as it had done every day of the six months she had spent here.  The silence had become part of her for that time, had lodged inside her, and something of it had remained for her to draw on even after she had left.  Now, as she breathed it in and let it fill her again, she felt that she was topping up her inner store, to see her through the next few months.  If it had only been a question of simply living with this silence, she would be here still.

Since the last book, Simon Serrailler has had a promotion to Detective Chief Superintendent and is the head of a special group called SIFT - Special Incident Flying Taskforce.  They handle big, public cases that could occur virtually anywhere.  Simon's sister and her family have returned from an extended stay in Australia.  Lots of things have happened to the family and more will come in this book.

There is a person in Lafferton that is shooting young women.  Many seem to be newly married or engaged and the police are scrambling to even decide if there is one shooter or more because different weapons and strategies have been used.  There is a lot of publicity and the pressure is on to keep the residents safe.  Adding to the confusion and dread is an upcoming local wedding for a goddaughter of the Prince of Wales.  Simon has not completely bonded with many of his new colleagues and that is causing him to be even more "lone wolf" than usual.  And in this storyline, he has a lot to manage, solve, and sort out.

There is a theme in this book regarding families and how they, and especially their children, young or older, deal with death, divorce, upheaval.  Some handle it well.  Some turn very dark and there are consequences.  I found all of this very satisfying to consider.  And yes, this entry into the series is a thumbs up from me.

I'm going to take a little break from Simon and company in the listening part of my reading.  The next book is The Shadows in the Street and I'll look forward to it in a couple of weeks.

24 comments:

  1. Sounds like a lot of things going on in this series and it's always a good thing to keep us readers intrigued aside from the mystery. I'm glad you're enjoying this series and that reminds me I need to check out this series.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm taking a break so I don't get caught up too fast. LOL

      Delete
  2. I love this series. I just finished the most recent one, and of course, that just made me wonder how long I'll have to wait for the next one. :) I have a hard time reading about some topics (crime against children), but she writes these in such a way that I keep reading anyway. Glad you are enjoying them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree. She certainly brings some interesting perspectives into her books.

      Delete
  3. Great review Kay. I like the theme for this book and the quote you shared. I don't normally start series. I don't like to wait for the next book to be released. I usually read them after all books have been released and have great reviews, for example The Hunger Games.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Pat. I loved The Hunger Games too. ;-)

      Delete
  4. Sounds like another good installment in this series!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It certainly was for me, Jenclair.

      Delete
  5. The book sounds so good. I'm adding Pacey to my list of narrators to watch for.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. He has a lovely British voice, Kathy. And I think he may do some of the Swedish books as well. Probably with a British voice. LOL

      Delete
  6. Susan Hill is an author I've been really wanting to try. This sounds like an intense but really great series. I'll have to look for Pacey's narration. I haven't found many men whose voices I really like. Thanks for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I like his voice and this was book #4 I've listened to him narrate. You might try him.

      Delete
  7. Sounds like this series has a really interesting blend of genres/themes. I'll have to check it out.

    ReplyDelete
  8. You're going through these quickly! I still have to get to get back into this series.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, I'm taking a break for a bit. I'm halfway through what there is available - 8 books.

      Delete
  9. I'm always looking for a good audiobook series to listen to, and this series sounds excellent. I haven't read any of them, so I have the whole series to look forward to! Love that!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You might try them, Robin. The first one is THE VARIOUS HAUNTS OF MEN.

      Delete
  10. Ok, you are tempting me to pick this series up again! :) I do like the family dynamics and that there is more to the mystery than just the mystery. I think it's Simon that gets on my nerves a bit but I'm willing to give him a second chance!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Simon has grown on me and he is certainly necessary, but I think that I like Cat better. She balances him out.

      Delete
  11. I love how many excelent series you recommend Kay. I haven't really fully immersed myself in a new one in years! I miss getting lost in a new series and reading them back to back.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love a good series - love the fact that the story goes on and on. The hard part is keeping up. LOL

      Delete
  12. Hmmm, as much as I loved the audio version of The Various Haunts of Men, I'm wondering if I might like to read the print editions in order to mark the wonderful passages. I love that quote about silence, Kay! Makes me think of my solitary walks on the beach in Oregon.

    You are coming up to the first book I read in this series (out of order!) and one which I thoroughly enjoyed. This may be a series that would do well to own for future re-reads.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, you do like marking the quotes. It was a little complicated for me to note down that quote, but I managed it. I'm going to get back to these after a bit. Have a couple more others to listen to first.

      Delete

Thanks for stopping by! I am so happy to hear your thoughts and will respond as soon as I can. Happy Reading!