The Various Haunts of Men (Simon Serrailler #1)
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The Various Haunts of Men (Simon Serrailler #1)

3.82 of 5 stars 3.82  ·  rating details  ·  4,742 ratings  ·  534 reviews
Introducing DCI Simon Serrailler of Lafferton CID and Sergeant Nathan Coates. Also, a new DI, Freya Graffham who has recently arrived from the Met.

A woman goes running on The Hill, a local park-cum-ancient mound, and vanishes without trace. A man walks his dog there, it runs off and vanishes. A cyclist rides down the paths. He disappears.

A young woman with depression visit...more
Kindle Edition, 576 pages
Published (first published January 1st 2004)
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Eleanor
WOW would be the one-word review, but perhaps you want more information than that...

This is a classic contemporary British mystery, complete with a cathedral town (Lafferton), a tantalizingly aloof Chief Inspector (Simon Serrailler), and a cast of wonderfully drawn supporting players whose side stories are interesting enough to make you forget the mystery at the heart of the novel.

People have gone missing from "The Hill," once considered a place of tranquil walks and spiritual renewal. They sha...more
LJ
THE VARIOUS HAUNTS OF MEN (Pol. Proc-DS Freya Graffam-England-Cont) – NR
Hill, Susan – 1st in series
Chatto & Windus, 2004, UK Hardcover – ISBN: 185619714x

First Sentence: Last week I found a letter from you.

In a small English cathedral town, a 53-year-old single woman disappears while on her daily run on “The Hill.” DS Freya Graffam searches the woman’s cottage for clues and finds a hidden present; a pair of expensive cufflinks and a note saying “To You, with all possible love from your devote...more
Kathy
I loved Susan Hill's The Woman in Black, and so I was excited to read this first book in a series of hers. I will concede that Susan Hill is an excellent writer, and as a mystery, this book was indeed well written. However, I ended up feeling sucker punched by the ending, not something that endears a book to me. Also, it's a Simon Serrailler series, but he was more of a minor, inconsequential character in this story. I was quite taken with the character of Freya Graffham, and I actually would ha...more
Laura
Aug 24, 2013 Laura rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Thriller lovers, British crime lovers, those who enjoy character-driven stories
I love mysteries. They're my favorite genre. British mysteries in particular are the best kind of comfort read for me. I love the atmosphere of a British mystery, the creepiness, the character sketches. It's like slipping into a warm bath every time I pick up a book like this. This one is different, but in a way that makes it even better.

I can't remember the last time that a book in this genre really surprised me. This one is unusual in that the man for whom the series is named sits offstage fo...more
Holly Robinson
I tend to gobble down mystery novels like peanut M&M's, sometimes without even noticing the colors, if you know what I mean. But The Various Haunts of Men stopped me in my tracks. This is one of those rare finds: a tense, atmospheric novel that reads like the psychotic aunt of your typical British cozy. Yep, there's the erudite, handsome detective Chief Inspector with an artistic side and a troubled aristocratic family. And, oh yes, there's the gutsy policewoman who has a teeny crush on him,...more
Sue
Aug 20, 2012 Sue rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: British mystery readers
I always love finding a new (to me) mystery series and now I have this to follow. This first of series book involves the titled DCI and the men and women who work with him in the cathedral town of Lafferton. The story is complex, going in multiple directions as, I assume, any police department would do at any one time. All resources aren't focused on one apparent crime. Resources must be respected, as is pointed out from time to time.

There is the case of a missing middle aged woman. Just up and...more
Ivonne Rovira
Susan Hill, best known for her chilling The Woman in Black, launched her Detective Chief Inspector Simon Serrailler mystery series with this novel in which first one resident of the cathedral town of Lafferton and then another disappears. The account of the crimes and the police investigation alternates with a taped “confession” by the unidentified killer, a sociopath taping his own version of events, ostensibly for his stern, hypercritical mother. The novel offers a window into the mind of a se...more
Monique
Okay..SO wanted to give this book the five star rating it deserved as I tore through this book in days and was thoroughly entertained..however I felt the ending was flat..Back it up to the story, it begins in a sleepy, comfortable town of Lafferton, I believe it is in England but let me also preface this retelling by again stating no one does mystery better and more detailed than our English/British author friends, what rich enveloping stories they tell..Okay back to the plot in Lafferton there...more
Terri Lynn
Since I had already read a later Simon Serrailler mystery, I wanted to start at the beginning and play catch up. The other book also didn't feature much of Simon at all despite this being the "Simon Serrailler" mystery series and I was surprised to see that this one didn't have much of him either outside a few appearances at work or his mom's house. We don't see him doing much of anything.

The story is much more about his triplet doctor Cat who also lives in Lafferton, England, a small Cathedra...more
Bill Kupersmith
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jennifer
This is the first in the Simon Serrailler detective series. Interestingly, he is hardly in this book at all which I thought was a clever idea. Instead, Hill gives us Freya Graffham - a new young policewoman in town who has a crush on Simon and sees him as an almost mythical figure. We learn a lot about him through her eyes but he always stays a little removed, intriguing, and seductive - the desire to know more means the second book in the series is already in my TBR pile ready to go. Hill isn't...more
Ben Babcock
Oh, I do enjoy the conceit of the English country novel. It’s second only to the Agatha Christie country house detective. In these stories, it’s not the policework or even the mystery that matters so much as the effect of the crimes on the collective psyche of the town in which they take place. Lafferton, the setting of The Various Haunts of Men is a cathedral town. Simon Serrailler describes it as "a jumped up market town", just big enough that not everyone knows everyone else, but the degrees...more
Nancy Oakes
In this series opener set in England, Simon Serrailler is a DCI in Lafferton, a small cathedral town which is now home to a series of strange disappearances, which may or may not have been criminal, but in any case, disappearances which leave behind no clues. However, as the number of people who go missing quickly increases, an enterprising new detective sergeant, Freya Graffham, just knows in her bones that they are all related somehow. Her boss, Simon, gives her the go-ahead to investigate.

Th...more
David Gooch
It has taken me a while to complete the reading of this. At first I thought it was my laziness but looking back I can see now it is the book itself at the start that does not draw you into it. I find a when I read a good book I am drawn into it and you forget what is going on elsewhere or even the time. You want to read on but sadly this was not one of those books.
The idea and the story itself are good. People are going missing in an area and no one knows why or even where they have gone. There...more
Deanne
Took me a while to pick this up as I'd borrowed it from the library, but once I started it just couldn't put it down.
Interesting twists and turns, an interesting group of characters who I think I'm ggoing to get to know quite well. Though DCI Serrailer wasn't in this a great deal, hopefully he'll be in the next book a bit more.
Do like the sound of living in a cathedral town again, lived in Canterbury for three years except for all the tourists. It's not a big city, even more crowded with all th...more
mary
Just started this, but so far it is excellent --- beautifully written and very engaging. Reminiscent of Rendell and Atkinson.

I'm very glad there are currently two more in the Serrailer series!

************************************

Wow.

What. A. Book.

It has been a very long time since I was literally unable to stop reading a book. My house is dirty, my husband is hungry, and I never got properly dressed today.

Top marks!
Lisa Cindrich
Well, this was very satisfying. Just as with Hill's horror novel The Woman in Black, this features rich characterizations and a vividly imagined setting. I'm not usually huge on reading series fiction (at least not past book #1) so it is high praise to say that I'm definitely planning to buy book 2! Oh, Mysteryscape Bookstore, I will be visiting you soon.
Gail
I have to say that I found this book very frustrating. On the one hand it was a very interesting mystery full of suspense. On the other hand the lead character Freya was this obsessive towards her boss Chief Inspector Simon Serrailler{who played a very minor role in the story except for all of Freya's obsessive talk about him}. Not long after meeting him, she is obsessed with him to the point of stalking him in what seems a fairly unbalanced way to me{is this the authors idea of injecting romanc...more
Donna
Jul 08, 2012 Donna rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: No one.
Shelves: mystery
This book forever changed the way I read - and not in a good way. Prior to reading "The Various Haunts of Men", I didn't want to know "what was gonna happen". I wanted to read the book front to back, and not know the ending. The natural progression - enjoy the surprise at the book's climax, and feel complete at the end.

Not any more. I was so angry with the horrible ending of "Various Haunts", it destroyed my enjoyment of the author's gifted writing. I will never again read anything by Susan Hill...more
Jennifer
Basic Overview
The Various Haunts of Men centers on a series of disappearances in the English town of Lafferton. The first to disappear is a spinster who leads a quiet, regimented life ... but leaves behind one out-of-character clue in her sterile, empty home. Although Freya Graffham -- the talented young policewoman assigned to investigate the case -- believes there is more to this disappearance than meets the eye, she is hard-pressed to convince her superiors that this is anything but a routine...more
Voluntarystress
I picked this book up on a second hand book shelf because the author was Susan Hill and the cover writing made it look like my sort of book, promising “a gripping whodunit”. It very definitely was.

There is depth of character here. You are allowed to get to know, to understand these people, which gives what eventually happens to them even more impact. If you are looking for a quick fire, all action detective story, this book is not for you. This novel takes it’s time and develops over, probably,...more
Ryandake
urk. this review refers to the audiobook version.

the editor of this book should be taken out and publicly spanked, unless he or she enjoys that sort of thing.

why on earth did the editor allow things like (and i do mean "like", i'm calling on my crappy memory here since i listened to this audiobook and don't want to troll through it again for exact quotes):

they wheeled their bicycles through the night, and a cat followed them, giggling.

the buzz of conversation murmured and buzzed around her


there...more
Charlotte
Sometimes you read a book at exactly the right time for it to really grab you, and it was exciting to discover that this book did, especially because I had a five hour train ride with it for company. It was even more exciting to discover, then, that there were three sequels. There's nothing I like more than a well-written mystery novel where I can't guess the ending, except if that mystery novel has sequels! I really like the family dynamics in this book, and the switches in narration were inter...more
Louise
I like the book and the writing, and will be reading more of the series.

If you like a story with atmosphere, good characters and you aren't an action junkie, you might want to give this a try :-)

A few things bothered me, the book is called Simon Serrailler #1 - but he's hardly in it until the very end, except as Freya's crush, and leading a few meetings.
I did however like the "reality" of the ending not wrapping up with a neat little bow.
The only thing that REALLY irritated me was: (view spoiler...more
Estibaliz79
Una gran novela del género (negro) con cierto giro muy propio de Susan Hill: un leve aire de misterio sobrenatural que sobrevuela la historia pero no la condiciona en ningún momento (que nadie se asuste). Súmese a eso el hecho de no recurrir a tópicos o, en todo caso, enfocarlos de la más original de las maneras, y lo que tenemos es una novela que engancha, repleta de personajes bien construidos que llegan a conmover en ocasiones; y tal vez sea ese uno de los mayores logros de la autora: present...more
Nevermore
This may topple right off my "currently reading" onto my "gave up" shelf. It is making me think that my "gave up" shelf probably needs fine tuning. There are many reasons to give up and for me, sheer boredom and indifference would be what ended this one. I read a lot of murder-mystery. A lot. And a lot of it is bad. I think I might even prefer a bad book to a book that makes no impact on me at all: at least then I could rail on a bit about what makes it bad. I had to give two stars because the a...more
Sandie
This is my first Susan Hill mystery and I liked it a lot. The physical book is lovely, an English edition, hardback, with cream colored paper, thick and soft to the touch.

The series detective here is Simon Serrailler, but we don't see him very much. The primary detecting is done by the young Freya Graffham, who has moved to the small town of Lafferton from London after a divorce. Several women are reported missing and Freya tries to figure out what is going on. There are also psychics, quack do...more
Kay Robinson
I got this book on loan and one thing's certain, the next Susan Hill book I read will be one I purchase. Not until after I'd finished and read of other titles did I realise that this was one in a series. and that after I had mistakenly tagged Freya as the 'main' character. It certainly is a 'value for money' thriller, not only gripping, well written and captivating, but also in the depth the author goes into all the characters that link into the grim tale even if only in a minor way. Though the...more
Jennifer
I think I've mentioned before that I've grown tired of mysteries in which the murderer is a sociopath, especially when there are anonymous scenes of deranged musing from said sociopath's viewpoint. This one does it better than most, and Susan Hill does a good job of making the sociopath seem unique. That said, I found the ending really frustrating for reasons I won't go into because of spoilers. And I found it odd that it was described as a 'Simon Serrailler mystery' when he was more of a second...more
Karen
I had a hard time deciding whether I liked this or not. The narrator I listened to was wonderful, with different voices for each character. At first, though, the changes back and forth between the regular story and the killer's memories was jarring. Gradually it began to make more sense and I liked it more. It did take me awhile to figure out who the killer was; I only began to suspect it a bit before it was revealed. However, I never did figure out who the killer was speaking to in the memoir t...more
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Kindle English My...: The Various Haunts of Men by Susan Hill 62 36 Nov 29, 2013 12:16PM  
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18874
Susan Hill was born in Scarborough, North Yorkshire in 1942. Her hometown was later referred to in her novel A Change for the Better (1969) and some short stories especially "Cockles and Mussels".

She attended Scarborough Convent School, where she became interested in theatre and literature. Her family left Scarborough in 1958 and moved to Coventry where her father worked in car and aircraft factor...more
More about Susan Hill...
The Woman in Black The Pure in Heart (Simon Serrailler, #2) The Small Hand: A Ghost Story The Risk of Darkness (Simon Serrailler, #3) The Man in the Picture

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