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The Vows of Silence (Simon Serrailler #4)

3.92 of 5 stars 3.92  ·  rating details  ·  1,600 ratings  ·  157 reviews
Melanie shops happily for supper the day after her return from honeymoon but when she gets back from the supermarket there is someone other than her new husband waiting for her. . . .

Tanya and Dan, who have been married that day, slip back into town to enjoy the fun of Lafferton's 'Jug' Fair. Also in the throng among the roundabouts and coconut shies are middle-aged Helen
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published June 17th 2008 by Knopf Canada (first published 2007)
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OK, I understand that when a sort of formula is working you may not want to mess with it, but four books, four serial killers, only one little English cathedral town? Beloved characters: you ought to move. Hill is obviously much more than a competent writer, so I'm confused by the repeat plot. Also, the personal events that befall the main Serailler family are SO SAD, and not in a useful way. I honestly don't understand why some of the hard things that happen to them do in this book--it just see ...more
May 10, 2013 Sue rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: all mystery readers.
It's amazing to me how much Susan Hill can incorporate into each episode of her Simon Serailler series. Yes they are police procedurals and mysteries, but they also provide continuing character studies of the primary, continuing characters as there lives change in many and unexpected ways. And secondary characters are not ciphers but are fully developed with full pasts, presents and hoped-for futures of their own.

In this episode, recent brides and newlyweds have been shot by a sniper without wa
Terri Lynn
Loved it! I am enjoying the Simon Serrailler mysteries though I don't find him appealing. In the last book in the series, Simon's physician sister Cat, her doctor husband Chris, and their 3 kids Sam, Hannah, and Felix went off to Australia where Cat and Simon's triplet brother Ivo lives and works as a flying doctor. Ivo is as icy cold as their dad, retired doctor Richard, and they only went because Chris wanted to so badly despite Cat hating Australia and not wanting to go. Simon and Cat's long ...more
Susan Hill's Simon Serailler novels are shelved as mysteries in libraries and bookstores, and here on my virtual shelves as well. Having read the first (The Various Haunts of Men) and the fourth (this one), and some reviews, I think they are actually domestic fiction about a family, one of whose members happens to be a policeman.

I enjoyed both books, and will probably seek out the middle two and any sequels. But I enjoyed them as domestic fiction more than for the mystery. I learned from some of
I've now read the first four of the series. I like it a lot, but it is strange in some ways. The first book, for instance, hardly featured the protagonist at all; it was mainly about a new employee who was attracted to him. The next three, we have the protagonist, but I don't much like him. He's a cold fish who treats women badly. However, the mysteries are good, and I really like the guy's sister, a doctor. This is a really good series, and I don't have to like the protagonist, as evidenced by ...more
Read this in one sitting except for breaks to hunt down more coffee.
Serrailler is dealing with a number of things after the end of the previous book. A killer who shoots young women and a new DS who seems to be an idiot.
There's also personal problems which come in threes, including a tragedy close to home.
Again Hill presents a group of characters who are more than window dressing for the main character. There are also secondary characters who are new to Lafferton but essential to the story. Look
Having enjoyed the other books in the Simon Serailler series, I was disappointed in this mystery. For one thing there were far too many deaths, some linked to the detective story, but others in the back story and involving established characters, and I felt that there were too many story lines and none got the attention they deserved. I also didn't like the frequent use of short staccato sentences of one or two words. This can be an effective dramatic device but was overdone here and seemed mere ...more
This fourth entry into the Simon Serrallier series left me with some rather mixed feelings. After the third book, The Risk of Darkness, ended rather abruptly and despite several characters being abandoned it what felt like mid-story, they are not so much as mentioned here. I also expected there to be more with the kidnapper, but that plot line also has been cast aside. My concern over these plot lines led me to ruin a large part of the book - I thought I would read the synopsis for the fifth boo ...more
Karen Pullen
I love Susan' Hill's books, though there is a sameness about them (serial killer terrorizes Lafferton). She's an excellent writer, reminding me of Elizabeth George only less wordy. She employs multiple points of view - including the victims and the killer - but it works very well; you always know who is speaking/thinking/experiencing the story. Her characters are appealing, especially the sleuth (Simon Serrailler) and his sister Cat. She weaves in and out of their family problems, his struggles ...more
Finished this book yesterday. Hill does a solid job of keeping the reader guessing. The ending was somewhat surprising (although I have to admit that the identity of the actual culprit did cross my mind for a fleeting minute before getting to the end of the book). As usual, Hill is so very adept at character development. You know you're fully invested in the story when you laugh out loud or cry at something you've read, the latter of which was true in my case. A solid mystery, sad in parts, but ...more
Like the rest of the Susan Hill mysteries, this very well written and keeps you turning the pages. However, most of the book is about DCS Serailler's family, and the mystery in this case feels like an after-thought. Not much mystery to this mystery, and while the family stuff is OK, that's really not why I read these. I like a puzzle, and this was not much of one. This series is getting weaker for me as she spends more time on his personal life and less on police procedure with each book.
This series mixes the family life of the main character with the details of a police procedural. Sometimes it works better than others. It's a difficult balancing act and this time it dipped too far towards family to the detriment of the "crime" element of the story.

Simon Serrailler is a Detective Chief Superintendent in the catherdral town of Lafferton. His sister, brother-in-law and their children have just returned from an 18 month sabbatical in Australia and while readjusting to life in Engl
An okay thriller covering a serial killer out to kill women after being rebuffed. The author spends more time on the family lives of a set of characters then she does on the crimes themselves. While Kate Atkins on does the same it does not seem as random and contrived as it does here. In this book it seems like there are three to four all rather incomplete stories being rolled out at once. This effect could be because I have only read the fourth of the series. Overall it was a meh.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Simon Serailler is not a dynamic enough character to be the centre of these crime/ mystery novels. He is no Andy Dalziel, Inspector Morse or Adam Dalgleish. I suspect he is meant to come across as a brooding loner type but to me he just seems to be a bit of a grump - unable to take pleasure in anything much at all, and resentful of some of his own family, in this novel he is disgruntled at his widowed father for having a relationship with Judith. The plot itself is a bit bleak, there seemed to b ...more
I wanted to love this because I love Susan Hill's literary fiction, and I also loved Family and The Magic Apple Tree, but this I skimmed and just about endured to the end. It was like reading a toff's view of life among the proles, clunky and superficial. I was neither engaged by the mystery murders or surprised at the deoument. Oh dear. I wish I had enjoyed it....
It took me a long time to listen to this book. I love the writing and the author's style, but I really dislike the main character, whom I find to be a self-absorbed, clueless snothead. So I only listen to a little at a time less I plot to kill him off. This one was especially poignant with his sister Cat going through hell as her husband Chris deals with a brain tumor.
Another great read from Susan Hill. I am perplexed by the 'blurb' on Amazon, which bears absolutely no resemblance to this story however.

But, this is a lovely, intricate story. Complex characters and Simon Serailler as good (and intriguing) as usual. A tragic story, which reduced me to tears at times, but still beautifully written.
Very, very disappointing. The previous Simon Serrailler books have been quite readable but this one is a disaster. Family tragedy after family tragedy - the poorly written chapters about the serial killer were almost a welcome relief. At this point I don't know if I will bother with the next book in this series.
I still LOVE this series, but our Simon was a little slow to catch the connection here. Plus, could anything more happen to the poor Serraillers? And don't EVER move to Lafferton - chances are high you'll not make it out alive.
Hill is not afraid to kill off any character or reveal any character's dark side. I wasn't even close in guessing this one. Ah joy! Fortunately, I have #5 right here.
Yes. This is book is why I really like Susan Hill's writing. My review of the previous book in the series suggested that the next instalment would benefit from some more spice or action. Well, this book delivers it in spades.

A series of murders rocks Lafferton and the police are clueless. Meanwhile the personal lives of Simon Serrailler and his family are also in turmoil. Hill has the ability to slowly turn the screws of the tension tighter and also to make you really identify with and care abou
oh dear. i can feel her formula shining through in this book. and i could, of course, see the bad guy a mile away. which is fine. if we're supposed to know in advance. but if we're supposed to be kept guessing till the end then this one failed. and enough with killing off the family members. and enough with the intellectualizing of grief but not actually putting us into the heads of the characters. this book is dull, flat, unemotional. and yes i'll read the next one because book #1 in this serie ...more
The Vows of Silence returns Chief Inspector Simon Serrailler to the scene of a crime; in this case, a person or persons unknown is acting as a sniper and shooting people who have recently been married or who have a connection to weddings or the wedding industry. This book read more quickly than Susan Hill's last effort (The Risk of Darkness) and was vastly more gripping (for this reader.) I am on a roll with this offbeat British crime series this summer. I have connected with the extended Serrai ...more
Mary Gilligan-Nolan
Another of the Simon Serrallier series and again, a great book. A serial killer is shooting young women in Lafferton and it seems they all have one thing in common, Weddings. They are either newly wed, about to be wed, or in one case, a girl who makes wedding dresses. One thing I did find odd was that the police never made this connection! These stories are not all about the crimes either, there is a very firmly based thread about the people and characters. We are following the story of the Serr ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jo at Jaffareadstoo
The Vows of Silence is book four in the Serrailler series of crime novels by Susan Hill. Simon Serrailler is the Chief Superintendent in charge of an investigation into the hunt for a gunman who is targeting, and randomly killing young women in the quiet town of Lafferton. The police enquiry is complicated as the killer leaves little clues, and with no indication of the reason behind the crime, the police are struggling to track down the murderer. Running alongside the main story are several sub ...more
Lourdes Venard
A serial killer is shooting and killing young women, most of them newly married. We know the why -- chapters from the killer’s point of view show us he was spurned once by his fiancee for another man -- but not the who. In the meantime, Lafferton plans for a big fair and a bigger wedding (the royals Charles and Camilla are supposed to show). Will the serial killer strike then? In previous books (and this series must be read in order), Hill has been light on the crime aspect. But in Vows, she del ...more
The Vows of Silence is the fourth in Susan Hill's Simon Serrailler crime series. This novel finds Serrailler on the trail of a sniper randomly targeting young women. The crimes are puzzling and all the more disturbing because there is no decernable pattern to them, and Serrailler wears himself out trying to come up with the answer. Much of the action is investigative and procedural, but as with the other books in the series, Hill gives us the human dimension of her hero's life as well. Simon's s ...more
#4 in Hill's Detective Simon Serrailler series. I am totally enjoying this series. Hill manages to bring in crime from different angles and this one does not disappoint. Simon's sister Cat is a family physician. Her church is the focus of this book. A new man is appointed to run the church and with him comes his rather annoying wife. Ruth is ready to change it all and bring new life into the church at least that is how she first appears until the reader learns that she suffers from manic depress ...more
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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 about Susan Hill...
The Woman in Black The Various Haunts of Men (Simon Serrailler, #1) The Pure in Heart (Simon Serrailler, #2) The Small Hand: A Ghost Story The Risk of Darkness (Simon Serrailler, #3)

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