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A new Simon Serrailler short story from Susan Hill, throwing Simon into a case like no other: an effigy is hanging in the woods, and soldiers are on the run from demons in their past
Simon Serrailler is awoken into a hazy dawn by the sharp ringing of his phone. Called out to the scene, he’s told that there’s a body strung up in tranquil Harnham Woods. But on closer inspection it’s an effigy – a carefully made dummy, stirring in the breeze. Simon knows that this is no practical joke. It’s a message.
The gruesome result of the search will show that he was right. And the trail will lead him into a dark history of deceit, subterfuge and the damaged lives of soldiers recently returned from Afghanistan. But the question remains: who has finally got their revenge?
If you enjoyed 'Revenge', look out for the tenth Simon Serrailler thriller, The Benefit of Hindsight in October 2019
Susan Hill has been a professional writer for over 50 years. Her books have won the Whitbread, and John Llewellyn Prizes, and the W. Somerset Maugham Award and been shortlisted for the Booker Prize. Her novels include Strange Meeting, I`m the King of the Castle and A Kind Man, and she has also published autobiography and collections of short stories. Her ghost story, The Woman in Black, has been running in London's West End since 1988. She is the author of three best-selling Kindle Singles – Crystal, Hunger, and Printer’s Devil Court.
Susan Hill is married with two adult daughters and lives in North Norfolk.
How do you catch a killer who doesn't exist?
One snowy night in the cathedral city of Lafferton, an old woman is dragged from her bed and strangled with a length of flex.
DCS Simon Serrailler and his team search desperately for clues to her murderer. All they know is that the killer will strike again, and will once more leave the same tell-tale signature.
Then they track down a name: Alan Keyes. But Alan Keyes has no birth certificate, no address, no job, no family, no passport, no dental records. Nothing.
Their killer does not exist.
'As addictive as Rankin' Scotsman
The village of Lafferton is shattered.
There are no witnesses and no leads – just a kidnapper at large.
Then Detective Chief Inspector Simon Serrailler receives a call: a child has been snatched in Yorkshire. Has the abductor struck again? And will they find this child alive?
Years later, now a Detective Chief Superintendent who has been badly injured in the course of duty, he receives a medal for bravery at Buckingham Palace, while recollecting that fateful night of his early career, when chance disguised itself as bravery.
Susan Hill has won the Whitbread, Somerset Maugham and John Llewelyn Rhys prizes, as well as being shortlisted for the Booker Prize. She has written 55 books in several genres including ghost stories. The play of THE WOMAN IN BLACK, is still running in London’s West End after 25 years. I’M THE KING OF THE CASTLE has been a GCSE set text. She has also published collections of short stories, fiction for children, several non fiction books and the highly successful crime novel series about the detective Simon Serrailler, who features in this short story. Her new novel, THE SOUL OF DISCRETION, published by Chatto & Windus is the final title in the Serrailler series. SUSAN HILL is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, a Fellow of King’s College, London, and was awarded a CBE in the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Honours of 2012.
Rebecca was Daphne du Maurier's most famous and best-loved novel.
But what happened next?
Married to the sophisticated, wordly-wise Maxim, the second Mrs de Winter's life should be happy and fulfilled. But the vengeful ghost of Rebecca, Maxim's first wife, continues to cast its long shadow over them. Back in England after an absence of over ten years, it seems as if happiness will at last be theirs.
But the de Winters still have to reckon with two hate-consumed figures they once knew - both of whom have very long memories...
NOW A MAJOR TV DRAMA
Late one summer evening, antiquarian bookseller Adam Snow is returning from a client visit when he takes a wrong turn. He stumbles across a derelict Edwardian house, and compelled by curiosity, approaches the door. Standing before the entrance, he feels the unmistakable sensation of a small cold hand creeping into his own, 'as if a child had taken hold of it'.
At first he is merely puzzled by the odd incident but then begins to suffer attacks of fear and panic, and is visited by nightmares. He is determined to learn more 'about the house and its once-magnificent, now overgrown garden but when he does so, he receives further, increasingly sinister, visits from the small hand.
Early one autumn afternoon in pursuit of an elusive book on her shelves, Susan Hill encountered dozens of others that she had never read, or forgotten she owned, or wanted to read for a second time. The discovery inspired her to embark on a year-long voyage through her books, forsaking new purchases in order to get to know her own collection again.
A book which is left on a shelf for a decade is a dead thing, but it is also a chrysalis, packed with the potential to burst into new life. Wandering through her house that day, Hill's eyes were opened to how much of that life was stored in her home, neglected for years. Howard's End is on the Landing charts the journey of one of the nation's most accomplished authors as she revisits the conversations, libraries and bookshelves of the past that have informed a lifetime of reading and writing.
Introducing Detective Simon Serrailler... in the first two cases in Susan Hill's gripping crime series
In The Various Haunts of Men Detective Chief Inspector Simon Serrailler and a new member of the station, Detective Sergeant Freya Graffham investigate the disappearance of a local woman from the peaceful cathedral town of Lafferton. As more people vanish, Simon and Freya are forced to embark on a complicated mission to unravel the mystery and enter the mind of a killer.
In The Pure in Heart Simon Serrailler is nursing a broken heart while trying to deal with a new and worrying case: the kidnapping of a young boy on his way to school. As the family of the missing boy falls apart, and more children are taken, the station - and Simon - begin to lose hope...
From the foggy streets of Victorian London to the eerie perfection of 1950s suburbia, the everyday is invaded by the otherworldly in this unforgettable collection of new ghost stories from the bestselling author of The Woman in Black.
In the title story, on a murky evening in a club off St James, a paranormal detective recounts his most memorable case, one whose horrifying denouement took place in that very building. A lonely boy makes a friend in 'Boy Number 21', but years later is forced to question the very nature of that friendship. 'Alice Baker' tells the story of a mysterious new office worker who is accompanied by a lingering smell of decay. And in 'The Front Room', a devoutly Christian mother tries to protect her children from the evil influence of their grandmother, both when she is alive and afterwards.
This edition also includes the chilling 'Printer's Devil Court' in which three medical students make an unholy pact whose consequences will pursue one of them to the grave - and perhaps beyond.
This is Susan Hill at her best, telling characteristically creepy and surprising tales of thwarted ambition, terrifying revenge and supernatural stirrings that will leave you wide-awake long into the night.
John Hilliard, a young subaltern returning to the Western Front after a brief period of sick leave back in England blind to the horrors of the trenches, finds his battalion tragically altered. His commanding officer finds escape in alcohol, there is a new adjutant and even Hilliard's batman has been killed.
But there is David Barton. As yet untouched and unsullied by war, radiating charm and common sense, forever writing long letters to his family.
Theirs is a strange meeting and a strange relationship: the coming together of opposites in the summer lull before the inevitable storm.