On the face of it DC Simon Serrailler has had time to recuperate after the violent incident that cost him his arm, and nearly his life. He is back in harness at Lafferton CID, but is spending his spare time high up in the cathedral roof, making drawings of the medieval angels which are being restored.
Lafferton is going through a quiet patch, so far as crime is concerned, until one rainy night two local men open their front door to a couple seeking shelter. A serious error of judgement in the investigation puts Simon’s reputation on the line and calls into question how full his recovery has really been.
In her new role as a private GP, Simon’s sister Cat’s medical and counselling skills are tested by terrible and unexpected events at the homes of two very different Lafferton women. Simon and Cat’s unreliable father, Richard, has returned to live nearby, in a luxury apartment for the well-heeled over 60s. He’s soon up to his usual tricks.
I love the Simon Serailler series and this was my favourite for a while, it’s focus being on Simon and family, his ongoing recovery from previous trauma and his ability or not to settle back into work.
Lafferton, the setting for this is always somewhere I’d quite like to live- Susan Hill gives a beautifully descriptive sense of it. In this instalment it is the target of a group of robbers, who use seemingly gentle methods until disturbed…
The Benefit of Hindsight does exactly as it sounds, telling a story where every decision has consequences that are unclear until the end. Simon is struggling with his mental health, several occurrences threaten to fracture his newly reformed family and meanwhile his father lurks. Serailler senior is one of the most abhorrent yet fascinating characters I’ve read – the ongoing family drama is hugely compelling.
Add to that cleverly woven mystery elements and this, for me, puts this series somewhere near the top of my literary crime favourites.
Recommended. Read in order to get the best out of it- I still reel a little when I remember the end of book one…