Author: Susan Hill, 2011
Genre: Police Procedural. Medical. Crime Fiction.
Other Details: Hardback. 355 pages.
A major storm has led to flooding in Lafferton as well as part of the embankment crashing down onto the bypass. Along with earth, trees and rubble something more sinister is found opening a sixteen year old cold case involving a missing teenager. Simon Serrailler is assigned to the case and painstakingly seeks answers.
In a companion thread to the police procedural, Simon's sister, Cat Deerbon, is now the full-time Medical Director of the Lafferton Hospice, which is facing financial crises. She also has to give the news to one of her patients, Jocelyn Forbes, of a diagnosis of motor neuron disease. On receipt of this diagnosis Jocelyn decides she wants to end her life through assisted suicide before the disease overtakes her.
I love this series and always look forward to getting my hands on a new one. The quality of Hill's writing is intelligent and inspiring though always remains accessible.
While it is a police procedural, what sets it apart is the way in which Hill integrates the inhabitants of Lafferton and the city itself into the plot. As with other books in the series issues linked to ageing, mental illness, death and dying are explored; mainly through members of Simon Serrailler's family working in the medical field and those connected to them. In this novel the controversial issue of assisted suicide is in the forefront.