I generally enjoy murder mysteries, but it has been many years since I read one. This was definitely a good one to get back into the genre with.
As it is the first in a series of Simon Serrailler novels, I was somewhat surprised to find he was rather absent from the book – in many ways he was just an incidental character. But nevertheless I think it served as a good introduction to his character, and I can’t wait to get my hands on the second novel to learn more about him, and hopefully to enjoy a tale as engaging as this one.
I’ll be honest, it wasn’t perfect. The central character, a detective sergeant called Freya, was really well written, and I liked her a lot. So I’m a little disappointed that she isn’t the main protagonist of the series. I also found certain things about her to be hard to swallow – such as her sudden and overwhelming infatuation with another character. But, in the end, I couldn’t help but forgive it, as I think the story was ultimately richer for it.
I was also impressed with Susan Hill’s evocative descriptions. Sometimes I struggle to form a mental image of what I am reading about, which can pull me out of the story. That was not a problem here. I found myself repeatedly drawn in and completely immersed in the world that was created for me, no matter how often my husband interrupted me for silly things like wanting to eat.
I think this isn’t necessarily a novel for everyone. The narrative perspective kept shifting, and that is something I like, and is part of what kept me interested. That’s not everyone’s cup of tea though. I also liked the slow and gradual reveal, allowing me to correctly guess the identity of the killer relatively early in the novel, and not having to wait too long to find my suspicion confirmed. Others might consider that too obvious, and think there weren’t enough red herrings. It was just right for my tastes however.
Overall, this was a really enjoyable read that left me wanting more, so it gets an easy 5 stars from me. Roll on book #2!