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The Stranger House

3.72 of 5 stars 3.72  ·  rating details  ·  833 ratings  ·  98 reviews

For more than five hundred years weary travelers have been coming to the Stranger House—an out-of-the-way inn in the tiny village of Illthwaite in Cumbria, England. Now two very different visitors have arrived here onthe same dank and dreary autumn afternoon, each one driven by curiosity . . . and perilous purpose.

Australian math wizard Samantha "Sam" Flood is here sear
ebook, 480 pages
Published October 13th 2009 by HarperCollins e-books (first published 2005)
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as ever an interesting book by reginald hill.
his use of language amazes me, there again were a couple of words i had never heard of before. he manages to draw you into an odd world of small places and (let's call them) interesting people.
the structure was somewhat odd with the main climax happening around the middle of the book and then having basically no action but the characters just retelling things before picking up again. i guess that's the old-fashioned 5-part drama structure but to me
Cleo Bannister
Reginald Hill departs from his normal genre of detective fiction in The Stranger House, instead we have one mystery that spans decades to the forced migration of children to Australia and another that goes back centuries to the time of the reformation.

Sam Flood, Australian and former priest, Miguel Madro who is half-Spanish meet at The Stranger House in Illthwaite, Cumbria. With the two strangers thrown together to uncover what happened to their ancestors they soon find that the villagers will c
Ian Mapp
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Reginald Hill has written dozens of books, but this is the first one that I have read. The Stranger House follows two people, Australian mathematician Samantha Flood and Spanish ex-almost-priest Miguel Madero, who travel to a small British town called Illthwaite to search out the history of their respective families. The novel is filled with a lot of coincidences, a small dash of the supernatural, a bunch of eccentric and memorable characters, and so many twists that you're still twisting in the ...more
Will Byrnes
Illthwaite, in Cumbria is a dark place, literally, caught in season-long shadow. Like the roach motel, once a family moves in it does not check out. It has a deep history and not the nicest one. Samantha Flood has come to Illthwaite from her native Australia seeking answers to questions about her family history. Miguel Madero, of both British and Spanish heritage, is seeking answers of a similar kind. They cross paths in a place where ancient signs abound, where secrets are not only in the resid ...more
Dana Stabenow
His last and he was still at the top of his form. Great characters in Sam, Mig, and Hill's native Cumbria, two -- or is it three -- maybe four, actually, now that I count up -- mysteries and two murders to solve, and a seamless interweaving of two pasts (the Englands of Elizabeth I and II) and the present. Maybe the denouement is a little over the top, but who cares when you find lines like this on every page:

She liked it best when they got to the old sepia photos where the men had beards or hea
Andy Weston
This is a 3.5 stars, in my ongoing campaign for a larger scale!

I am a big admirer of Reginald Hill, whose Dalziel books were something special. Better though was "The Woodcutter", and as I am living in the Lakes at the moment I was very keen to read this. The storyline is good, the setting is tremendous but some of the characters could be stronger. They are not as believable as they should be, and my other criticism is that in the middle 300 pages too little happens, and the novel loses its way
A feisty red-haired Australian mathematician (female), and a Spanish former trainee Catholic priest (male), both arrive in the sinister & remote village of Illthwaite, Cumbria; she in connection with family history investigation, and he to carry out research for his thesis on the subject of recusancy. The close knit village community, families whose roots in the village go back centuries, are not eager to divulge secrets. Plenty of twists and turns follow involving the topics of the forced m ...more
Pamela Mclaren
This is an intriguing and qite different book about two children who grow up following the trail of their families and ending up in the same small town and struggling with what they find out and what they have to slowly winnow from clues and misdirection by the townspeople.

I'm not sure that I like either main character but the girl — a young woman who is small as a child and behaves through much of the book as a spoiled brat — is particularly annoying. I think in an effort to get the Australian
Rachael Dixon
I was very close to giving this book a five star, I mean I thoroughly enjoyed it - the pace, the style, the story, the underlying humour - but it sort of fell short at the very end, which is why I gave it a four. I didn't feel as satisfied with the ending as I'd hoped - I liked the way the characters all fit into the village's history, which added to the unfolding mystery, but I think it could have been wrapped up a little better. I felt that the villain/s needed a better comeuppance, and I felt ...more
Alison C
The Stranger House, by Reginald Hill, brings together unlikely allies in an unexpected place: Sam Flood is a brilliant mathematician from Australia who is searching for her family roots in Northern England, while Mig Madero is a half-English, half-Spanish man who has only just recently dropped out of the seminary and is now pursuing a historical mystery concerning an ancestor and the persecution of Catholics in England under Elizabeth I. When these two young people meet up in the village of Illt ...more
Liz Nutting
Jan 28, 2010 Liz Nutting rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Liz by: Nancy Kirk
Shelves: mystery-thriller
This was a compelling mystery, especially for those who like a little side of supernatural with their whodunits. I thought the ending especially good--a logical resolution of the key issues, without even a hint of deus ex machina.
It was with regret that I learned that Reginald Hill had died. He was a man who created mysteries with a little bit extra in terms of intelligence, history and character (Dalziel and Pascoe). "The Stranger House", his last book, does not fail although it is not as smooth as some of his earlier works. But combine accurate Elizabethan history, spirituality, contemporary characters, a love story and a labyrinthian
quest for the truth and you have a winning read about murder, betrayal and love. All
James Perkins
Based on religious doctrine and moral outrage, this book had a lot of potential, but the two lead characters were not given a proper chance to shine. The first, an Australian "mathematical genius" whose only numerical ability seemed to be harping on about it, used too many overly British and unAustralian expressions in her speech and thoughts, the combination of which highlighted the naivete rather than the cleverness of the author. Why didn't the publishers hire an Australian editor - or at lea ...more
Reginald Hill has written dozens of books, but I think I love this one the best. Having nothing to do with Hill's usual Daziel and Pascoe series, this almost Gothic novel is set in Cumbria, a dark place literally caught in season-long shadow, during part of the year. With a near-seamless interweaving of two pasts and the present, the author no only presents us with four murders, but throws in a few details about the Child Migrant Scheme as well. I do wish there was more about this horrible part ...more
Mar 05, 2010 Cathy rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone - especially mystery lovers
Recommended to Cathy by: no one
My first time to read a Reginald Hill book although I am familiar with him through the television series Pascoe & Dalziel. I'm interested in finding out about the Child Migrant Scheme although so far it really hasn't been discussed. This theme caught my eye because I believe there is a book about a Canadian who came from England on this same program. I'm really enjoying this book - it's a little bit history, romance and mystery -- things that I really like.

I'm pretty far along the book. Fina
"The Stranger House" ("Das Fremdenhaus") ohne die Dreifaltigkeit Dalziel / Pascoe / Wield und auch nicht in Yorkshire handelnd, sondern im Dörfchen Illthwaite im Skaddale in Cumbria. Protagonisten sind eine australische Mathematikerin und ein ehemaliger spanischer Priester auf der Suche nach Erkenntnissen über ihre Vorfahren. Schon aus dieser Figurenkonstellation ergeben sich zwischenmenschliche Spannungen und höchst amüsante Wortgefechte. Auch die Dorfbewohner sind sehr exzentrisch, aber zuglei ...more
Magnus S
Beyond doubt the best RH book I read so far! The atmosphere feels so authentic, despite a lead theme that paints a picture of a village with inhabitants that seem still in the 19th century at best. Hill makes it all somehow seem absolutely realistic; the mix of cavemen, vikings and oldfashion style manor owners. The main characters are so sympathetic yet so different, Hill proves a meticulous knowledge and background research in as widely separated fields as mathematics and theology and throws m ...more
A long book which could have been much shorter. Quite interesting idea and memorable characters, but not as much of a thriller as expected. Captured the closeness of a small Lakeland community and the relationships over generations. Ultimately didn't think the two main characters were at all compatible - but maybe that was the point. Not describing very well, just something about the book felt a bit disjointed?
Theodora Gotsis
A very interesting read. It took no time to get into the characters, but the stoey took a lot longer to get into. The language was a bit overdone sometimes so that I often had to reread sections. the overall story was good enough to keep my interest, though, and the conclusion was very satisfying. I was left thinking about the characters for a while after finishing.
I was taken by surprise when I realized this book is partly about the child migration schemes that occurred in England. I recently watched the " based on a true story" movie, "Oranges & Sunshine" starring Emily Watson as the social worker Margaret Humphreys who worked tirelessly to re-unite the children with their parents in the 1980's. These children had been separated from their parents & taken to live in Australia as a government intervention. Both parents & children suffered from ...more
Sheeona Gorman
Really intriguing and gripping from the start. I really enjoy a book which has 2 characters sub stories and these characters are developed really well and sympathetically. Very enjoyable read in teh mystery/thriller vein with some eerie-ness thrown in for good measure!
I can't remember which author I follow who mentioned this author, but I want to thank them! The book was very engrossing, had many twists and turns, and wound up everything to my satisfaction in the end. I definitely want to read more Reginald Hill.
this guy is good. Great phrases, and this author is really good with conversation. And the history part, of shipping orphans from England to "Oz" - Australia - from teh 40's to the 60's+, is jaw-dropping.
This was a wonderful complex book. This is my first book by this author and the narrator , it was an audio version was a marvelous reader with a lovely British accent
Reginald Hill is a MUST read for anyone who enjoys mysteries, good writing, brilliant plots, and a bit of fun.

Reginald Hill passed away in early 2012, so sadly there will be no more of his fabulous books. Since I found Reginald Hill books I have waited patiently for each new release with breathless anticipation.

If you have never read anything by him then please start here. He is famous for the Dalziel & Pascoe books, but those are detective procedurals filled with strange British characters.
I really enjoyed this book. Hill is very descriptive and take you right to the place he's writing about. You also feel like you know each of the characters.
And an odd little story it is. A red-haired Australian woman travels to Britain to find out about where her grandmother, transported to Australia under the child migrant scheme, comes from. A man who is the son of Spanish sherry makers travels to the same area to investigate a relative who was tortured there during the English Reformation. Then there's the story of incestuous local intrigues with the moron brothers and the local gentry. It's quite a mess.
It seems like Hill
Interesting book, possibly a little long-winded on some of the descriptions about the Vikings and other issues, but a good read nevertheless.
I really enjoyed The Stranger House by Reginald Hill. Set in Cumbria, the story told about two "strangers" search for their ancestors in the imaginary village of Illthwaite. Hill combined mathematics, history, and Norse myth with an exciting plot ending in justice being delivered by the gods. I did find the story to be complex, and had to check back frequently for references to the lesser characters. It would be great if authors of mystery novels put a character list at the beginning of the book ...more
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Reginald Charles Hill is a contemporary English crime writer, and the winner in 1995 of the Crime Writers' Association Cartier Diamond Dagger for Lifetime Achievement.

After National Service (1955-57) and studying English at St Catherine's College, Oxford University (1957-60) he worked as a teacher for many years, rising to Senior Lecturer at Doncaster College of Education. In 1980 he retired from
More about Reginald Hill...
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“Or an amicable pair,” said Sam. “Sorry?” “In math, that’s what we call two numbers each of which is equal to the sum of the divisors of the other. The smallest ones, 220 and 284, were regarded by the Pythagoreans as symbols of true friendship.” 0 likes
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