31 December 2007

Just finished reading....

The Pure in Heart by Susan Hill.

This is the second of Hill's Simon Serailler Crime Novels. (I reviewed the first, The Various Haunts of Men, back in May. I really, really enjoyed that book, and was very excited when I found the sequel at the library.

In the second book we spend much more time with Simon than we did in the first, and as a result, get to know him much better. A Detective Chief Inspector with the police force of small English town Lafferton, a place where he has deep family roots. His parents and most of his siblings are physicians. The exception is his youngest sister Martha, who was born developmentally handicapped and who has spent most of her life in a care home.

The story starts with Simon on vacation in Venice. He receives a phone call from his father to the effect that Martha is very ill, and he must return immediately if he wants to see her alive again. Simon rushes home, and though Martha recovers, there are many questions within his family about the quality (of lack thereof) of her life.

Simon becomes distracted from the family dramas by the kidnapping of a nine-year-boy who was kidnapped while waiting in front of his house for a ride to school. This event has a huge effect not just on the family and the police, but the entire community, as people begin to monitor their youngsters much more closely.

This is a complex story with many deep philosophical questions about life, not all of which are answered.

The third book in the series, The Risk of Darkness was released in the UK in paperback last June, and I'm eagerly waiting for it to make its way across the pond.

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