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The Vows of Silence (Simon Serrailler #4)

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  3,070 Ratings  ·  246 Reviews
Gunmen are terrorising young women in the Cathedral town of Lafferton.

What — if anything — links the apparently random murders? Is the marksman with a rifle the same person as the killer with a handgun?

Detective Chief Superintendent Simon Serrailler falls back on well-tried police methods such as questioning neighbours and house-to-house searches. He tries to stay on step
Paperback, 464 pages
Published June 30th 2009 by Seal Books (first published 2006)
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May 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  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
Jan 21, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
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
Kim Kaso
Jul 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As you can tell by the start & finish dates, this was a consuming & fast read for me. I am so glad I discovered the Simon Serrailler books by Susan Hill a year-and-a-half ago. I ration them, slot them into my reading as treats. The characters are so well-crafted, the Cathedral town feels familiar to me, the plots are full of lovely sleight-of-hand that keeps me guessing & often tempts to go to the end to alleviate the anxiety I feel on behalf of my favorite characters, she makes it h ...more
Roman Clodia
Dec 09, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
After the more leisurely second and third instalments of this series, this is the tightest book to date. A sniper is targeting young married women in Lafferton; Cat has returned from Australia and faces her most heart-rending challenge; a widow is taking her first steps in dating again; and Jane Fitzroy is finding her direction in life.

I guess you could read this novel without the rest of the series but the others really add resonance as people's pasts count here. Definitely don't read this is y
Sandy *The world could end while I was reading and I would never notice*
A true 4* this one.......Susan Hill is back to her best with Gunmen terrorizing women in the Cathedral town of Lafferton. What — if anything — links these apparently random murders? Is the rifle marksman the same person as the killer with the handgun? Simon Serrailler uses well-tried police methods - questions neighbors, searches house-to-house and ponders, both the motives for the murders and his personal life. His sister Cat is back with her family from their six month sojourn in Australia, bu ...more
Dec 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crimethriller
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
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
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
Jan 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries
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
Dec 21, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Jan 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jul 27, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I love Simon Serrailler but I needed to see more of him in this book. I know it's Hill's style but there were some side-plots that I simply didn't care about. A number of them in fact. Rather disappointed if I'm honest.
Sep 17, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition

Death continues to surround the Serrailler clan, and not just of the crime variety. While Cat Deerbon deals with a shocking development, Simon is on the trail of a sniper in Lafferton (for a quiet village they've sure had their share of crazed criminals lately!) This book was somewhat disappointing, though. I figured out who the sniper probably was pretty quickly and the red herring wasn't very convincing to lead me otherwise. Then, the fate of one of the characters really made no sense at all.

I really enjoy this series of books and agree with another reviewer who said its more like a family saga with a policeman as part of the family. One thing I would love to see is Simon finding the right woman. He falls for every unattached female who comes along and I am not sure what Jane sees in him or he in her. She is such an uninteresting person. No idea of what she is doing or what she wants, not suitable for Simon at all. I would love to see him meet his match. He needs a smart, strong wom ...more
Sep 22, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: i-bought-this
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
Dec 26, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: british-mystery
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.
Jan 02, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, crime
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.
Nov 24, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-as-an-adult
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.
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.
Dec 02, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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....
Aug 01, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery-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.
Jo Weston
Oct 27, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook, 2015
Best yet of the series for me. Really steamed along and I love the development of the family story alongside, with the characterisations there. Though it has to be said that the Serraillers are a fairly unfortunate bunch with what life doles out to them.
Jun 21, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I didn't like it as much as the other Serrailler books. I very early sussed 'who dun it' and some aspects were too close to home at the moment to make it enjoyable reading. Still, I will try the next one on the list.
Heather Fineisen
Oct 12, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, 2013-bought
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.
Catherine Yarwood
A gunman is terrorizing women in a cathedral town called Lafferton. He seems to be focusing on women soon-to-be or recently married. Simon Serrailler is the coppa investigating the murders whilst also dealing with a family tragedy and a re-emergence of a lost love. Can he solve the crime before more women die?

I’m not particularly good at guessing during a whodunnit, but I figured out the murderer really early on. I was genuinely disappointed - I thought the novel was being deliberately misleadin
Jul 08, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Simon Serrallier books are reliably good mysteries. Hill always weaves together multiple storylines, including Simon's family's life, his personal life, a police case, and stories about other people who are closely or loosely related to any of the above. Hill could easily write books that are twice as long with this material, but chooses to keep her mysteries short, which makes for a degree of complexity but not a lot of depth. Fortunately this is a series, so the plotlines more closely rela ...more
Mar 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another superb crime novel in the Simon Serrailler series. Not only do you get a great crime story with these books but also excellent back stories about the main characters. Now a DCS, Simon is faced with the hunt for a killer who is murdering young women who are either recently married or shortly to be married. With few leads and against a background of tragedy and upset in his own family, Simon struggles to work out the killer's motive. The reader gets more clues than the police do as we are ...more
Terri Lynn
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 03, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Number 4 in the Simon Serallier series, and Susan Hill's writing remains strong. The police work in this book is about a gunman or men who are randomly shooting young women, often in crowds and sometimes brides. There is also tragedy in the Serailler family. All of this is set in the mostly quiet cathedral town of Lafferton, England. It is interesting to follow the family's and Simon's stories, intertwined with the mystery.
Read this while recovering from major surgery, and it was right.
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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...

Other Books in the Series

Simon Serrailler (8 books)
  • The Various Haunts of Men (Simon Serrailler, #1)
  • The Pure in Heart (Simon Serrailler, #2)
  • The Risk of Darkness (Simon Serrailler, #3)
  • The Shadows in the Street (Simon Serrailler, #5)
  • The Betrayal of Trust (Simon Serrailler, #6)
  • A Question of Identity (Simon Serrailler, #7)
  • The Soul of Discretion (Simon Serrailler, #8)

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