The Various Haunts of Men, Paperback Book
3.5 out of 5 (1 rating)


People are going missing. Only thing links their cases. They all disppear on the hill. A woman vanishes in the fog up on the Hill in Lafferton.

The police have one lead - a pair of expensive cuff-links found in her flat, with a mysterious note attached to them.

Then a young girl, an old man and even a dog disappear in quick succession in exactly the same place.

Young policewoman Freya Graffham and Chief Inspector Simon Serrailler are given the task of unravelling the mystery.

But can they find the Hill killer before he strikes again? "Not all great novelists can write crime fiction but when one like Susan Hill does the result is stunning." (Ruth Rendell).


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 576 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Publishing
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Crime & mystery
  • ISBN: 9780099534983

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Quiet Lafferton, with its drug problems and white good thefts is a change from the Met for Sergeant Freya Graffham, but she nevertheless finds herself connecting the dots on two seemingly unrelated missing persons cases to uncover a possible serial killer, while fighting off an unwanted, powerful attraction to her new boss, DCI Simon Serrailler.I enjoy the author for her knack for evocation of atmosphere, and I was intrigued to know if her skill set extended to functional plotting of crime investigations, so I picked it up without hesitation. It was an enjoyable read; somewhat derivative, perhaps – there was less of Hill’s unique voice than I’d hoped, in that it often felt like a P.D. James novel with less literary heft, but more immediate character portrayal. And Sergeant Graffham’s choir singing seemed to echo the old Morse tales of Colin Dexter – not the academia, precisely, but the higher-thought atmosphere. Honestly, though, I wish more writers of crime fiction would reach for those heights, so although I was sorry that Hill didn’t stand out more in the genre, I was nevertheless impressed. It is a very <i>readable</i> novel and, despite the title (which I like very much), quite feminine in focus (we see less of Serrailler than of Freya, his sergeant, despite this being the introductory book of, I believe, a trilogy if not a series in which Serrailler is the principal detective).Does Susan Hill manage to pull off the crime plotting? Well, this is a hard one to peg, because the brief success that the investigation enjoyed seemed to arrive by virtue of the suspect being overly arrogant, and then ended on a note of failure… the atmosphere of sadness seemed rather more the point than the wrapping up of the investigation. I can hardly complain, since atmosphere is why I picked the author’s work up in the first place. I shall be interested, however, to see if Hill makes the plot work a bit harder in the next book, or if she hides behind conventional scenarios.