11 April 2012

Book Review

The Betrayal of Trust by Susan Hill

This book is promoted as ‘A Simon Serrailler Crime Novel’

The Daily Express says: "Susan Hill’s Serrailler novels, with their persuasively drawn copper and his equally well-rounded family, are a real treat."

Ruth Rendell says: "Not all great novelists can write crime fiction but when one like Susan Hill does the result is stunning."

In the past this has been the case and because of it I have always looked out for more stories with DSI Simon Serrailler taking the leading role and his familiar settling nicely around him. However, this one was different. It was nothing more than a hotchpotch of plots and sub plots.

Simon’s sister, Cat, is a well known and well loved doctor so it was presumed that the slightly off-key and uncomfortable drama involving a terminally ill patient who wants to end her own life was directly linked to her. For a long time I was left wondering where the connection lay. The subject of Euthanasia had no real place in this book and there was no connection at all to the police investigation.

Although the storyline was about two bodies washed out of shallow graves in torrential rainstorm and the ensuing police investigation, the reader was taken on a tour of a seedy Swiss establishment where the ‘patient’ would be put to death in dire surroundings. The elderly lady suffered from motor neurone disease which was well described medically but had little relevance to the story. Thankfully she backed out so an envisaged ‘final’ scene was avoided. Of course it all fell into place in the end but the way the topic was set in the ‘middle of nowhere’ rather spoilt the flow of the story. I found this quite depressing and longed for the return of a bit of detective work to ‘lift’ the spirits. Sadly it failed to materialise.

Apart from one or two errors in the proofreading the book was well written, it was just that the sequence of events seemed unbalanced in the midst of an important murder enquiry. DSI Serrailler solved the murders rather hastily in the end, almost as if the author had run out of time.

Bitterly disappointing!


  1. ugh i hate that...when they rush at the end and wrap it all up neatly....set the pace and write it out for sure...

  2. Yes, I am in two minds about Susan Hill. She can write so vividly and beautifully but the plots can leave something to be desired. I haven't read this one, and might not, considering the pile of stuff I already have to read.

  3. Brian, i know endings can be difficult. This one was particularly unsatisfactory.

    Jenny, I will think twice about Susan Hill's books in future.

  4. Hmmmm....I do not like it when I'm disappointed in a book, or its plot, etc. Oh well. I have not read this one.

  5. Well I value your opinion so I will cross this one off the must-read list. In all actuality, I don't even know who Susan Hill is but Mrs. Shife is an avid reader so she might be familiar with her work. Have a good one, Val.

  6. Shallow graves? Rainstorms? Motor neurone disease? Sounds like my kinda book. I'll be checking this one out!


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