Friday, April 19, 2013

A Question of Identity

Susan Hill's most recent Simon Serrailler novel takes place in Yorkshire in 2002. In the small town of Lafferton, 3 elderly woman have been murdered in their houses. Particularly gruesome crimes, the details are kept from the public. Alan Frederick Keyes has been arrested and is standing trial for them. Keyes is a self employed builder from a nearby town. His wife testifies against him, afraid for her life. The townspeople are convinced he committed the murders, then the jury returns its  verdict. Keyes is taken into police custody and his life changes dramatically.

Flash forward to 2102. In a new public housing project elderly women are again being murdered. The same type of murders as in 2002. So similar are these murders they contain elements from the 2002 crimes - details not released to the public. Has Keyes returned? Possibly, but all attempts to get current information about him indicate he doesn't exist.  Simon Serrailler is assigned to investigate. Simon has his own personal problems going on. His relationship with Rachel is strained, and his sisters and father have problems that are intruding into Simon's life.

Susan Hill is a Man Booker Prize nominee and it's not hard to see why. She writes compelling mysteries with interesting characters. Yes, this is a long running series, but the books are still fresh and the characters keep evolving. I recommend this book and all the others in the series as well.

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