Simon Serrailler is faced with that most complicated of investigations - a cold case.
Freak weather and flash floods all over southern England. Half of Lafferton is afloat. A landslip on the Moor has closed the bypass and, as the rain slowly drains away, a shallow grave - and a skeleton - are exposed.
It doesn't take long to identify the remains as those of the missing teenager, Harriet Lowther, last seen carrying a tennis racket while waiting for a bus. But that was sixteen years ago. How long will it take to trawl through the old, stale evidence and assess it anew? The Lafferton force is struggling with staff shortages and economies, and Simon has to do a lot of the legwork on his own. Meanwhile, his sister, Dr Cat Deerbon, is fighting for extra funding for the hospice which is threatened with cuts and closures.
All the Simon Serrailler novels offer more than merely a murder mystery, and The Betrayal of Trust is no exception: it takes a brave, truthful look at old age and the associated problems of terminal illness which, in the future, will bring our society to the brink of painful conflicts of conscience.
Susan Hill's gifts are displayed here to dazzling effect: her empathy and understanding of the human heart, her brilliance when evoking character and her tremendous powers of exciting storytelling.
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Hugely enjoyable... This is a satisfying crime story and a fearless examination of controversial issues surrounding terminal illness - Daily Mail
The Betrayal of Trust isn't only a page-turner - though it certainly fulfils that expectation - it's also a thought-provoking novel about those who suffer and those who care for them. - Guardian
A crime series that specialises in sidestepping conventions, always to exhilarating effect ... These books succeed in harnessing all the genre's addictive power while maintaining a complexity and fascination entirely their own. - Independent
It is when Hill descends to write about mere mortals...that one remembers she is among our finest novelists. - Daily Telegraph
Hill can't write a bad sentence and her characters are all completely convincing - none more so than her long-serving detective Simon Serrailler. - Mirror
Susan Hill's Serrailler novels are a real treat. - Daily Express
Hill is to be congratulated on her tour de force...thoughtful, uncomfortable, and worthy of our undivided attention. - The Spectator
What one is aware of throughout is Hill's keen intelligence, the range of her sympathy and the depth of her moral concern. Her novels are always entertaining but are not only entertaintments...That is why reading these novels, which combine good plots with well-drawn characters and intelligent probing of the way we live now, is so enriching. - The Scotsman
Susan Hill's novels and short stories have won the Whitbread, Somerset Maugham and John Llewellyn Rhys awards and been shortlisted for the Booker Prize. She is the author of over fifty books, including the five previous Serrailler crime novels, The Various Haunts of Men, The Pure in Heart, The Risk of Darkness, The Vows of Silence and The Shadows in the Street. The play adapted from her famous ghost story, The Woman in Black, has been running in the West End since 1989; it has also recently been made into a film starring Daniel Radcliffe.
Susan Hill was born in Scarborough and educated at King's College London. She is married to the Shakespeare scholar, Stanley Wells, and they have two daughters. She lives in Gloucestershire, where she runs her own small publishing firm, Long Barn Books.