The Betrayal of Trust is the 6th book in Susan Hill's series featuring DCS Simon Serrailler and his family and colleagues at the Lafferton Police. I again listening to Steven Pacey's expert and soothing narration of the story. There were many things I liked about this book and there were several that I was not as pleased with. It does not concern the writing, which was lovely as always. It is about Simon himself and some of his decisions and actions, as well as other aspects of the book that were not pulled together and sorted out as well as I would have liked by the end. Left hanging is another term. This, of course, means that I will need to get to the next book in the series, A Question of Identity, sooner rather than later.
As The Betrayal of Trust begins, Lafferton and the southern part of England is experiencing horrific weather. There is flooding in many parts of the area, including around the cathedral and streets surrounding. Simon has to be picked up from his apartment in a boat. After the water has receded, it is apparent that there has been a landslip on the moor and this has caused two bodies or rather skeletons to be uncovered. The first proves to be that of Harriet Lowther, a 15-year-old who went missing 16 years before. The other is a grown woman who seems to have been buried around the same time, but whose identity is not known.
The police are in a bad spot at the moment. There are huge budget cuts and money is an issue all around. Simon's boss is out after surgery and her assistant doesn't think much of spending a lot of time and resources investigating a missing person case from such a long time ago. He allows Simon to continue, but gives him no personnel to assist him. Cold cases are always tricky and this one is no exception.
Meanwhile, what's happening to the other characters that we have come to know and love? Simon's sister, Dr. Cat Deerbon, has completed her course in palliative care and now has a young medical student, Molly, living with her family in order to assist Cat with her three children. Cat is adjusting very slowly to being a widow, but she and her children are still having problems. Simon's father and stepmother also are having some issues and Simon's relationship with his father is no better. And, yet again, Simon has fallen for a woman who is unsuitable for a long-term relationship or perhaps any relationship.
The theme of this book seems to be sad life situations that are almost impossible to live with and yet must be endured. There are several individuals with incurable diseases such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, Motor Neuron Disease. There is a whole storyline and discussion of end-of-life decisions and whether suicide, doctor assisted or not, is ever appropriate. The toll these type of conditions take on both the patient and the family members is considered. And again, loneliness is part of the narrative. All in all, not a cheerful book in any way. Almost too grim and depressing.
I will hope for less conflict within the Serrailler family in the next book. I'll hope that a couple of threads that were left unfinished are tied up a bit better. I'll hope that Simon doesn't do something that I will find hard to endure in his quest for the woman that he met in this book. Like a book or two previously, I felt the need to smack him or just give him a good talking to. I liked Molly, the medical student that has come into Cat's life and hope to see her again. And I hope that Cat herself can come to a more peaceful place in her work and with her children and as a single woman with massive responsibilities. Sometimes, I think that Cat and not Simon wins for favorite character for me.
The next book is A Question of Identity and I'll likely listen to it soon. Only one book will remain after that and then the wait will begin to see when and if another book will be added to this series, which is probably my favorite find of 2015. If you are curious, I've reviewed all the books I've read by Susan Hill this year - the first is The Various Haunts of Men.