Sunday, February 06, 2011
Review: The Vows of Silence by Susan Hill
Protagonist: Simon Serrailler
Setting: Lafferton, England
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; Vow is the fourth), Hill has been light on the crime aspect. But in this novel, she delivers a solid police procedural.
As always, there’s also a lot going on with the Serrailler family: their newly widowed father, Richard, is seeing a new woman. And Cat, back from Australia, is dealing with a serious illness in her family. There’s a new character, Helen, a widow who has begun dating a man; her fundamentalist son doesn’t approve of him. A couple of characters from previous books make an appearance, Karin McCafferty, a friend of Cat’s, and Jane Fitzroy, much more than a friend to Simon.
Hill's themes are about death, but not always the death that comes with serial killers or other crimes. She writes gracefully about families, love and life, and that makes her series, for me, a standout.