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Posted 20 hours ago

A Change of Circumstance: Discover the million-copy bestselling Simon Serrailler series (Simon Serrailler, 11)

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For more crime associated with a cathedral city, you might like to try The Distant Dead by Lesley Thomson.

I finished it quickly but it is short – 315 pages compared with first in the series The Various Haunts of Men which is 448 pages long. Her hometown was later referred to in her novel A Change for the Better (1969) and some short stories especially "Cockles and Mussels". I really can't wait for the next book in the series and I'd like to thank the publishers for making a copy available to the Bookbag. I did feel that this book was a bit more episodic than others in the series, with shorter chapters and quicker changes of scene or character.Simon has split from his current lady friend but continues to fret about whether he has made the right decision. I wasn’t so sure about the veracity of some of the police procedure but the stories of Brookie and Olivia feel real enough, both children from fractured families pulled into crime by lies and bribes. Hill has recently founded her own publishing company, Long Barn Books, which has published one work of fiction per year.

Detective Chief Superintendent Simon Serrailler has long regarded drug ops in Lafferton as a waste of time. Susan Hill does a brilliant job of creating the ‘other’ characters in this novel – Olivia, her mother, Brookie and his father, all becoming embroiled in this horrible criminal world whether they want to or not. After all this is Simon Serrailler - the detective who has proved his value in earlier novels, who gives his all and cares about his staff and his family, and who can’t seem to work out his own personal life.

Can Serrailler finally break the drugs network that’s spreading through the area or is it just too powerful for him? Some of the conversations and briefings within the police felt a little preachy and forced and intrusive – it is a genuinely important topic for all of us as parents, educators and members of communities, but it did take me out of the narrative of the story. Cat is also worried about her son’s romantic relationship, the health of her little dog, and the painful leg injury of her husband, a chief constable.

His relationships with women show him in a poor light and it is some question that he is inappropriately dealing with a female Detective Constable. Here we have Brookie, one of four sons of a working class single dad, who falls into the clutches of Fats, the local dealer receiving packages along County Lines from Manchester; in contrast we have Olivia, daughter of a middle class paralegal secretary in a single mother family.

Can Serrailler finally break the drugs network that's spreading through the area or is it just too powerful for him? This is listed as a mystery, but it's more of a domestic slice of life book about Simon and his family, and Brookie and his family, and Cat and all the DCs, and poor Mr Lionel, and the Chinese herbalist, and the junkie found dead of an OD/contaminated batch of heroin and a couple of animals and Olivia and whether Simon is going to get with Rachel and ugh. Susan Hill either reached her word count or got bored of the grubby county lines plot and decided not to tie up the loose ends. Her description of how innocent lives can be gradually corrupted by those wicked enough and desperate enough to do that, is perfectly credible.

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