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.
I had a very similar reaction to this book, Kay. At times I found it a deeply depressing book, rather dark, with some dodgy and sinister characters. I preferred the next book, A Question of Identity, which as the title indicates is on the subject of identity and is more balanced between the crime and the continuing story of the main characters. But it did leave me bothered about the fate of the elderly ...ReplyDelete
I haven't read the book after that - The Soul of Discretion. After reading a few summaries of it I decided I didn't want to read it. I'll be interested to see what you think if you have a look at it!
Thanks for sharing your experience, Margaret. I was disturbed by several things in this book, although I did understand some of the frustrations of dealing with family members with debilitating illness. It's hard to manage, even with a lot of help or having them in a care center. There are still calls all the time. Anyway, that wasn't all. I was not pleased by the new 'romance' that Simon becomes involved in. Not that I couldn't understand attraction, but I guess I'm old fashioned. LOLDelete
I'll definitely be reading the next two books. I'm like that. Can't help it. Have to see how things go. I'll write about them here and it's nice to hear that you preferred A Question of Identity. That bodes well.
You are really getting on with this series! Interesting that there is a darker feeling and that BooksPlease also found herself bothered.ReplyDelete
Jenclair, I think there are situations here that you would find understandable, but disturbing. If you decide to read this one, I'll look forward to your reaction.Delete
I love this series, but am loving it slighly less as the series goes on. Just finished The Soul of Descretion, and I found it better than the last couple. Still grim, although some of the characters are doing beeter (and some are not). Hill can get very very preachy, and there is an entire sub plot of Cat's palative care that is not only unnecessary but repetative and seemling endless. However, still a good series. I wonder, Kay, if you will be surprised if I tell you it's the model, very roughly, for the Molly Smith books. Vicki DelanyReplyDelete
Vicki (Eva)! Thanks so much for commenting on this book. First of all, I am very surprised that this series is a loose model for your Molly books. Yours certainly have a lighter feel, although there are dark situations of course. And then there is your gorgeous setting. That helps!Delete
As to Susan Hill's books, well, I agree with you that she can get preachy. I don't think that I noticed it so much before, but perhaps the issues in this one were particularly grim and close to home for me. I've had parents with Alzheimer's and so understand some of the family trials. So you just finished The Soul of Discretion. Well, nice to know your experience and I'm sure I'll be listening to it in the next few weeks. Thanks again for stopping by! I need to read your lighthouse book for a more cheerful setting.
Even despite this one not being as strong a book in the series as the others, it sounds like the author hasn't yet last steam. That's always a good sign with a series. Hopefully the next book will be better.ReplyDelete
Yes, I'm looking forward to it. Though I'll be keeping in mind some of the experiences of the ones who commented above. But only two more books and so I must finish out the series. I must. LOLDelete
I have the first in Susan Hill's series. It seems to have gotten good reviews from bloggers I trust. I'm happy that you are so into this series because it makes me want to give it a whirl and see how I feel about it. I do love my crime and procedural series :)ReplyDelete
You should try the first and see what you think, Rita. I've really enjoyed this series.Delete
This is definitely a series I want to read but I'm a little concerned about how dark this sounds. In general I don't mind dark but I don't like hopelessness. There's enough enduring in real life and I like reading to be more of an escape. I'm planning on reading this series but I'll be prepared for some of the issues with this one.ReplyDelete
I think part of the issue is that the Serrailler family is such a part of this series, in addition to the crime solving itself. And when I have problems with decisions being made by the Serraillers, it affects my mood for the book as a whole. Plus the author has always spent a lot of time discussing certain medical and ethical issues. This particular book was a little heavy in that regard.Delete
I haven't read any of this series but if I'm looking to start a series it may be this one. I love when I get into books so much that I want to smack the main characters or give them a good talking to. It usually means the books are pretty good.ReplyDelete
These have been great books for me to read this year. If you want a new series, you could do worse. LOLDelete
Oh, dear. Cat's a widow? :( I'm anxious to read further into this series, in spite of the overwhelming sadness/darkness you allude to.ReplyDelete
I'm sorry, Les, to spoil that for you. It's so hard to keep those things from creeping in. I couldn't remember where you left off. Yes, you should read further, but as Margaret said above, it does get darker.Delete
No worries, Kay. By the time I get to reading this book, I will have forgotten! ;)Delete
Wow, you're on a roll, Kay! I still haven't read her series except one of her stand alones. Maybe one day soon!ReplyDelete
I know how that is, Melody. Our eyes see books that we want - but not enough time to read them all. Sigh.Delete