A Question of Identity by Susan Hill – review

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  • What’s it about? The story starts with a murder trial up north, where the suspect is acquitted and driven away from court alongside an angry mob. Then, the setting switches to the quiet cathedral town of Lafferton, where soon the disturbing murder of an elderly lady takes place in a sheltered housing project. A man’s been seen prowling around in the dark, but who knows if he’s the guilty one… as the police set about their task, we get to know more of the neighbours. Two gruesome murders follow, replicas of the first, right down to a ‘signature’ detail. The detective in charge, Simon Serrailler (he will be familiar to readers of Susan Hill’s series) is puzzled when he finds out similar crimes were committed in another part of the country years ago but the suspect was acquitted and has vanished – no records, no computer data, no dental records. Who and where is he? Hence the title concerning ‘identity’…

    Goodtoknow says: If you’re a fan of irresistible unmarried male detectives, who have sensitive souls yet remain uncommitted to their lady loves, you’ll fall for this one. DCS Simon Serrailler and various members of his family will be familiar to fans of Susan Hill’s books and their lives continue to be full of woes and highs, while he oozes complication (his love is married to a terminally ill man). Between chapters, we read comments from the murderer, dragging us, whether we like it or not, into his deranged mind. Meantime, clever Simon pursues his goal and, thanks to one tiny clue, identifies the killer – and, wow, who’d have guessed who it was? We certainly didn’t…

    It’s gripping and, if you’re hooked like we were, go back and read the six earlier Serrailler thrillers. You’ll get to know Simon’s family better… and you’ll find out more about them soon, as Susan Hill plans to write more!

    Rating: 8/10

    Publisher: Chatto & Windus
    Publish date: 25th October 2012
    If you like this, you’ll love: A Taste for Death by PD James¬†

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    Where to next?

    A Discovery of Witches by Deorah Harkness – review

    Peaches for Monsieur le Cure by Joanne Harris – review

    See the new titles in goodtoknow’s 2013 Book Club