The Shadows in the Street is the 5th book in the Simon Serrailler crime series. The author is Susan Hill and if you've been reading this blog for the last few months, you know that I have been listening to this series on audio - and loving it. Again, Steven Pacey is the narrator and a fine job he does. I only have 3 more of this series to go and then I'll be current. Not sure what I'll do then, but hopefully another series will appear and fill the gap.
Susan Hill's books are mysteries, yes, but they are also character studies of the Serrailler family and, in addition, include morality and health issues. This book takes on prostitution and gives us a personal look at a few of the woman who are in the game, their lives and children. There is a mental health storyline, the ravages of a person suffering from bipolar disorder and how it affects that person's loved ones. There is a theme of loneliness in the book and how some cope with it or don't.
The character studies include Simon Serrailler's police colleagues and changes in personnel, Cat Deerbon's decisions as she tries to go on with her medical career in the wake of a personal tragedy, and Simon himself, always attempting to figure out whether to indulge his artistic side or his logical police superintendent half. As our story begins, Simon is on leave and enjoying a holiday time on a Scottish island. His superiors have insisted that he get away and it has been good for him to do so. His sister, Dr. Cat Deerbon, has been adjusting to a new normal and is questioning whether general practice is what she wishes to do in the future. Her heart lies with the hospice patients and she is mulling over some decisions that will allow her to spend more time with her children and make her job more rewarding.
Two local prostitutes have been brutally strangled near the canal. Simon is called back to head up the investigation. He and his team, which includes a new Detective Sergeant, are working hard, but making no headway in solving the murders. There are people who reach out to the women, trying to help them with food, hot drinks, and clean needles. Could the murderer be hiding among these individuals? Several men are brought in and questioned. And then another woman disappears and another. Simon is getting all kinds of pressure from above and from the community.
Lafferton's cathedral is going through a transition as well, with a new head, whose wife wants to institute an extensive program to help the prostitutes. The new dean or head is making waves among the congregation for the many updates he is proposing. All that grinds to halt though when the dean's wife herself goes missing. And before Simon and his team can catch the killer, that person gets way too close to someone Simon cares for.
Again, there are changes in store for our characters in the coming books. Susan Hill is not an author to be averse to big challenges for the characters she creates. The next book in the series is The Betrayal of Trust and I'm happy to say that I have that one loaded on my phone and am ready to begin listening.