Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Risk of Darkness by Susan Hill

Uh-oh, I'm involved in another series! The Risk of Darkness is a Simon Serrailler mystery and I do believe I'm in love. Not really, but Serrailler is a wonderfully conflicted British detective with a good heart. He is a triplet whose sister lives nearby in Lafferton, and brother lives in Australia and has little to do with the family. Simon is close to his mother but his father is rather too aloof for the triplets to feel much for him. Sister Cat is a doctor with a generous soul which often causes problems with her husband (also a doctor but burned-out), who is left to take care of their children. Handsome Simon is single and Cat thinks he has treated women badly. She's too right.

The case that involves both Simon and Cat is the disappearance of several small children. This is heartwrenching of course for everyone in the area and for Simon. Another plot line centers around a woman who dies of mad cow disease due to eating tainted meat, and her husband who is driven mad by her loss. He thinks he sees her everywhere and at one point holds a woman hostage.

The villain in the case of the children is an intense character and I never quite "got" why this person did it despite knowing of an unhappy childhood. That's part of why I liked the book though. I like having to puzzle out the why's of actions like this. Relationships between family members and coworkers are a large part of this story. Not one character is a cliche; everyone is as unique as people really are.

Susan Hill obtained star billing on my authors-to-look-for list when I read her The Woman in Black last fall. I recommend this book for anyone who likes a mystery with depth.

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