The Various Haunts of Men & The Pure in Heart by Susan Hill

Susan Hill is an English write, who apparently has a large back-catalogue consisting of romances, children’s books etc. I did not know her before I by coincidence got hold of her crime/thriller “The Various Haunts of Men” which was published in 2005. Crime/thriller are maybe too big words for those two books, as they as much about life in a smaller English town as they are about the actual crimes being comitted, although the town is not so small that there are no crimes being comitted.

In “The Various Haunts of Men” the plot is about women being vanishing and in “The Pure In Heart” the plot is about kids, or rather the kidnapping of a single kid, which is the case Simon Serrailer, the town’s chief, needs to investigate. Simon Serrailer is, together with the rest of his family and a large cast of “supporting roles” the main persons in those two books. The stories are very well writen and I was caught up in the light melancholy and the “English flavor”.

I did miss some “real” crime/thriller/mystery elements and felt at times, that the book was dwelling too long at family-stuff.

In “The Pure In Heart”, there is virtually no descriptions of the police work, it is more about how a kidnapping affects family, society and police. Perhaps because the book is being continued in number three, called “The Risk of Darkness”.

Persons and places are described in a very authentic way, specially if you know a little about smaller English towns. The books are not cosy reading though, and in my opinion they appeal more to women who likes grown up chick lit with an addition of a couple of henious crimes.