I’ve become very fond of Susan Hill’s Simon Serailler series, and have saved the reading of the latest until I could give it full and undivided attention.

The Vows of Silence begins with the shooting of a young woman, newly married. This is rapidly followed by the deaths of several others, all by a gunman, but what is the connection (if any) and is there more than one killer?

It’s fair to say that this isn’t really a standard police procedural; by that I mean that although there is the usual stuff you would expect, this is a novel as much about Serailler the private man as it is about a senior policemen leading the hunt for a dangerous killer. A lot of the book deals with several characters we have met before, including Serrailler’s family, especially his sister Cat. I didn’t find this a problem; I have grown very attached to these characters over previous novels, and in some ways the personal parts of the book were more compelling than the solution of the crime, especially as I worked out the identity of the killer quite early on.

Parts of this book are really quite moving; there is  family tragedy which is so well described that I did have to reach for the tissues, something which doesn’t happen that often (and hasn’t since reading this book). So this might not be to everyone’s taste, but I enjoyed it very much.

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