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The Pure in Heart (Simon Serrailler, Bk 2)
The Pure in Heart - Simon Serrailler, Bk 2
Author: Susan Hill
The Pure in Heart continues the story of Simon Serrailler, the Detective Chief Inspector to whom readers were introduced in The Various Haunts of Men. Simon is on vacation in Venice, trying to come to terms with the brutal murder of a young woman who had been in love with him. But soon a telephone call summons him home. — A little b...  more »
ISBN-13: 9781590200858
ISBN-10: 1590200853
Publication Date: 9/2/2008
Pages: 384
  • Currently 4.4/5 Stars.

4.4 stars, based on 15 ratings
Publisher: Overlook
Book Type: Paperback
Other Versions: Hardcover
Members Wishing: 0
Reviews: Member | Amazon | Write a Review

Top Member Book Reviews

cathyskye avatar reviewed The Pure in Heart (Simon Serrailler, Bk 2) on + 2052 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
First Line: At first light the mist was soft and smoky over the lagoon and it was cold enough for Simon Serrailler to be glad of his heavy donkey jacket.

Still brooding over the death of a fellow officer the previous year, Detective Chief Inspector Simon Serrailler is on holiday in his beloved Venice, Italy, to bury himself in his art. Instead, he receives a phone call from his father telling him that if he wants to see his younger sister alive, he'd best get on a plane now.

Simon does, but the scare turns out to be a false alarm. He briefly considers going back to Venice, but then nine-year-old David Angus disappears while waiting for his ride to school, and Serrailler knows he must stay.

There are several subplots going in The Pure in Heart: the young boy's abduction, Simon being stalked by an ex-girlfriend, a young man just released from prison who finds out how hard it is to stay on the straight and narrow, the deteriorating health of Simon's sister... but they are all skillfully interwoven and Hill kept me turning the pages with her fluid, visual writing style and the depth of her characterizations.

When I read the first book in the series, The Various Haunts of Men, I lamented that there was very little of Simon Serrailler in what was billed as a Simon Serrailler mystery. There is no lack of him in this book, and I can see now that the first book sets the series up brilliantly.

Hill has a marvelous gift for making characters and situations come alive. I felt ex-con Andy Gunton's frustration at trying to find a decent job that he actually liked and his intense dislike of being forced to stay with his grudging sister. I felt how the members of Simon's family were being pulled apart by the health of the youngest sibling and the age-old question of how a severely handicapped person can have quality of life.

The subplot that had the tightest hold on me as a reader was that of the abducted boy, David Angus. Hill shows in agonizing detail how a good marriage can be pulled apart at the seams by such an overwhelming tragedy. Hill kept my focus on the boy by interspersing short chapters that were David trying to talk with his abductor. Those chapters put me in that little boy's shoes, and they were also a lifeline: as long as those little italicized chapters appeared, I knew David was still alive. That was a brilliant device to make the reader every bit as emotionally involved as all the characters in the book who were so desperately searching.

Is it necessary to read The Various Haunts of Men before picking up The Pure in Heart? No. Hill provides enough backstory to keep the reader from being confused but not so much that it bogs down the pacing of the story.

It may not be necessary to read the first book in the series before you read the second, but one thing should be necessary: that all of you who love beautifully written and plotted mysteries filled with characters who live and breathe on the page should get to know Simon Serrailler.
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reviewed The Pure in Heart (Simon Serrailler, Bk 2) on + 216 more book reviews
I have recently discovered some British authors that are just know being published in the US and I actually bought this book while in London last May. Simon Serrailler is a easy character to like, and in this novel he gets involved with a missing boy and a crook trying to go straight. Well worth your time.

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