mandag den 7. september 2009

Susan Hill, The Pure in the Heart (2005)

Warning: this lukewarm review may be seen as a spoiler!

This is volume two in the Serrailler series. Simon Serrailler is on one of his recurrent holidays in Venice to practice the art of drawing, harassed by the thought of Freya Graffham, his colleague who was killed by a serial killer when she – perhaps – was on the way to become more than a workmate to him. Serailler, the sensitive and artistic cop, is not good at close relationships, however.

At the beginning of the story Andy Gunton is released from prison, convinced that he has seen the last of that place, yet in a panic over returning to freedom after four predictable year, and soon after David Angus, a little schoolboy, is picked up by a stranger instead of the father of his classmate.

Initially, the plot seems promising, with appealing characters, but the last hundred pages or so were a disappointment as Hill spends so much time on Simon´s private problems (which are not even solved), cheating the reader of a satisfying solution to the main crime.

Susan Hill, De rene af hjertet (2009).

Advarsel: denne lunkne anmeldelse kan måske siges at indeholde en spoiler.

Bind to i serien om Simon Serrailler. Simon Serrailler er af sted på en af sine tilbagevendende ferier for at tegne i Venedig, plaget ved tanken om Freya Graffham, hans kollega, som blev dræbt af en seriemorder, netop som hun – måske – var på vej til at blive mere end en arbejdspartner for ham. Serrailler, som er den følsomme, kunstneriske strisser, har imidlertid ikke nemt ved at knytte sig til en kvinde.

Ved bogens start bliver Andy Gunton løsladt fra fængslet, overbevist om at det er for altid, men samtidig i panik over at skulle ud i verden efter fire forudsigelige og overskuelige år, og kort efter bliver David Angus, en lille skoledreng, samlet op af en fremmed i stedet for sin klassekammerats far.

Historien begynder lovende, med udmærkede personskildringer, men de sidste hundrede sider var efter min mening skuffende, fordi Hill bruger for meget plads på Simon Serraillers private problemer (som såmænd heller ikke bliver løst), og snyder læseren for en tilfredssluttende slutning.

14 kommentarer:

Beth F sagde ...

I hate it when a new book in a series doesn't live up to my expectations. Hope the next one works out better.

R. T. sagde ...

Luke-warm (and negative) reviews are refreshing and helpful. How else can readers be warned away from disappointing reading experiences? Susan Hill's book--not previously on my "must read" list--is now wisely and conveniently eliminated from further consideration. Thanks!

Dorte H sagde ...

Beth, I know that some readers like the series very much, but her endings have disappointed me twice now so I am not sure I will give her a third chance.

Dorte H sagde ...

R.T.; I also prefer honest reviews, but sometimes I fear that I am being too harsh. I just checked a Danish site written by librarians, however, and found the following comment: "for crime puritans there is probably too much novel (i.e. private life) and too little crime. They will probably also think the ending is problematic."
- so at least I am not the only one.

R. T. sagde ...

When I was reviewing actively (for magazines and journals), and when I review online, I try to follow a simple policy of only reviewing books that I can endorse and recommend; I try to ignore inferior books and say nothing at all about them. In fact, I will hardly ever go beyond reading fifty pages in a book that offers no promise. Occasionally, though, I have had a lousy book pressed on me by an editor who insisted upon a review. Then, I cut loose with complete candor.

R. T. sagde ...

Dorte, here is something off-subject that I want to share with you. I am moderating a new blog Religion in the 21st Century for my English composition and rhetoric class during this semester. It is an experiment in blogging and teaching, and I invite you (and others) to visit and participate at any time. Viewpoints and opinions from beyond the classroom and around the world would be positive catalysts for my students. The blog content, theme, and goals are self-evidence, I think, and I hope you will stop by and visit.

Louise sagde ...

I do agree with you Dorte. I have read three Simon Serrailer-books (are there any more?) and while I quite liked the first one, I remember being rather disappointed with this second one, and I also remember not being overly crazy about the third one....

This is not much of a review, but I did write something about the two first books here:

http://louspages.blogspot.com/2008/10/various-haunts-of-men-pure-in-heart-by.html

Dorte H sagde ...

R.T. I will pop over and take a look.

Louise, I think there are four. Your evaluation of them is rather precise and fair, I think.

Elizabeth Spann Craig sagde ...

Life's too short for so-so books! Thanks for the review, Dorte. This one doesn't sound up my alley.

Elizabeth
Mystery Writing is Murder

Kerrie sagde ...

I've read 4 so far Dorte,and generally enjoyed them all.

Dorte H sagde ...

Elizabeth, the problem is that many people enjoy this series, but I have seen several reviews which agree with me on the ending.

Kerrie, I can see her books have some literary qualities, and she is good on characters and environment, but her solution did disappoint me.

Louise sagde ...

I initially picked up the first one thinking it was a mystery/thriller. Then when I found that one an okay read, I proceeded to number 2 and 3, and they were not as much mysteries and thrillers as they were about family-life, love, friendship and so on, and that did disappoint me, as well as the ending of number 2. But, Dorte, I can recommend reading number 3 if you want a little surprise and closure ;o)

Dorte H sagde ...

Louise, I´d better try that - but not until I can get it from the library :D

Ms. Bookish sagde ...

I liked Hill's first mystery very much and have had this one in my tbr for quite a while now. I think Hill previously wrote literary fiction; Pure in Heart definitely sounds more like a literary read than a mystery.