Magazine article The Spectator

A Ladykiller at Large

Magazine article The Spectator

A Ladykiller at Large

Article excerpt

A Question of Identity by Susan Hill Chatto, £16.99, pp. 354, ISBN 9780701186562

Ever since Sergeant Cuff appeared in The Moonstone in 1868, we English have loved our detectives. Moody Scandinavian fiction might come and go, but Peter Wimsey, Poirot, Marple and of course Sherlock Holmes continue to delight us.

In Simon Serailler, Susan Hill has created a detective that ranks alongside all these greats. Like Cuff, he has his passion (drawing), like Wimsey he has a personal story, which is built up in each successive novel (this is the seventh in the series). A Question of Identity continues the tale of Serailler's usually doomed love affairs, his ambivalent relationship with his father, his widowed sister's single motherhood, and his care for her childen.

The plot - the search for a serial killer of old ladies - is straightforward enough; but where Hill excels is in the themes she addresses throughout her novels. …

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