Book Review: The Various Haunts of Men by Susan Hill

What’s it about?

A woman vanishes in the fog up on ‘the Hill’, an area locally known for its tranquillity and peace. The police are not alarmed; people usually disappear for their own reasons. But when a young girl, an old man and even a dog disappear no one can deny that something untoward is happening in this quiet cathedral town. Young policewoman Freya Graffham is assigned to the case, she’s new to the job, compassionate, inquisitive, dedicated and needs to know – perhaps too much. 

She and the enigmatic detective Chief Inspector Simon Serrailler have the task of unravelling the mystery behind this gruesome sequence of events. From the passages revealing the killer’s mind to the final heart-stopping twist.

My thoughts

I’m always drawn to a good murder mystery and having read, and enjoyed, The Woman in Black, I was expecting eerie atmosphere overload and wasn’t disappointed there.

I initially thought with it being a chunkster of a book at over 500 pages that I’d take me a while to read, but I read it in a week which is good-going for me.  I thought the book was well structured with a good balance of description and conversation, I didn’t feel anything was out of place or overdone.

We are introduced to many characters, some of which won’t make it into book 2, but they’re all given sufficient plot time that you get to know them and care about them, even the fleeting visitors.  Having said that, DCI Serrailler plays quite a small part in this opening book – considering it’s his series!  There’s also plenty of conversation and good old fashioned investigation which does make for a gripping read.

I liked the mix of chapters told from the killer’s point of view in “The Tape” so as a reader we find ourselves knowing more than the police and being that one step ahead.  With this extra detail, I did manage to put it together and figure out who the murderer was – highly unusual for me!

I’ve just discovered that there are now a further 8 books in this series with another due later this year.  Did I enjoy this book, yes very much, will I read anymore, mmm probably not.  Realistically, I think I’m too far behind and as I already try to follow and keep up with 2 other crime/murder mysteries series, this may just be one too many, nevertheless thoroughly recommended!

Book links: Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository

Author links: Twitter | Website

Small print for info
Source: Borrowed
No of pages: 549
Publisher: Vintage

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