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22 October 2007


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Okay, here's the thing:

This is a HUGE spoiler, so seriously, don't continue reading if you don't want to know.


You're only reading this if you:

A) have already read the book or
B) would never in a million years pick this up, never ever read grown-up books or mysteries.

All right then.

First off, for most of the book I didn't understand why it was called 'A Simon Serrallier Mystery' when he was an almost minor character. Yes, he's the DCI, Freya is in love with him (I thought that was well done, by the way -- the moment when she realizes it actually made me tear up), everyone talks about him, and so on, but we don't really see much of him.

Then it happens: About twenty pages before the end of the book, Freya Graffman, the (up until this point) main character, the person I'd heard the most from, gotten to know the best and the one I cared the most about, is murdered.

At first, I thought, "Wow. You go, Susan Hill. I would never, in a million years, have seen that coming. Rock on with your crazy-plot-twist-self."

But then I started getting kind of pissed*. Because it seemed kind of cheap. Like Freya wasn't Freya -- she was just a tool, there to create an unrequited-love-what-might-have-been sort of background for Simon and to make Nathan lose his innocence. (Because regardless of his background or his job, he was an innocent.) And that just, well, sucks. Maybe if it had been a later book in the series, a prequel, it would have worked for me. Maybe then I wouldn't have felt so manipulated.

*Regardless of my irritation/anger, I'm impressed, Susan Hill, that you made me care this much. I probably shouldn't get all worked up over these things.


Yeah I agree, picked up the book in a charity shop and majorly enjoyed it. Like a fool, however I glanced at the "First Chapter from the Simon Serailler Series" at the end of the book and found out that Freya dies... goddammit. Almost made me want to cry that I'd found out, but I did still enjoy it. My issue with the book (and the reason I did this search) is something I just don't understand! I might be completely be missing the wood for the trees but I hope you can help me... Why were the tapes left by Sharpe addressed to Cat Deerbon???? I went back and read them and they should have gone to his mother presumably? Am I missing something? Cat Deerbon is meant to be 34 in this book, and Sharpe is in his fifties. ARRRGG don't get it. Also, was the "psychic surgeon" stuff just in there to highlight that accepted forms of complementary therapies (and therapists) might be just as dangerous as more outlandish ideas such as psychic surgery? I know it was needed to really get the group interested in alternative therapies but it felt unnecessary to have so much about that when it had no impact on the conclusion. Or did it, and am I missing something else? Hehe hope you can help here!


I too am mystified as to why the tapes were addressed to Cat Deerbon; in fact I've just scanned all the 'tape' sections of the book again in case I'd missed a vital clue. The only explanation (of sorts) I can come up with is that although he left the tapes for her, she was not the 'you' addressed in the tape contents.

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