The Betrayal of Trust: A Chief Superintendent Simon Serrailler Mystery

Susan Hill, Author
Susan Hill. Overlook, $24.95 (368p) ISBN 978-1-59020-280-7
Reviewed on: 08/29/2011
Release date: 11/01/2011
Quality-of-life issues figure prominently in Hill’s thought-provoking sixth procedural featuring Chief Supt. Simon Serrailler (after 2010’s The Shadows in the Street). Skeletal remains unearthed by a torrential rainstorm that floods the English city of Lafferton are quickly identified as those of Harriet Lowther, a 15-year-old schoolgirl who disappeared 16 years earlier after last being seen at a bus stop. Serrailler must conduct the subsequent cold case murder inquiry with limited staffing. As he grinds through old interview reports and seeks out living witnesses to Lowther’s actions on the day she vanished, he meets a married woman whose husband is debilitated by Parkinson’s. Meanwhile, a patient of his physician sister contemplates suicide on learning of a fatal diagnosis, and another local grapples with finding a suitable facility for a loved one subject to increasingly violent outbursts. Fully realized characters and efficient prose more than compensate for an unconvincing twist. (Nov.)