Cover Image: The Benefit of Hindsight

The Benefit of Hindsight

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Always a creepy read from Susan Hill....I loved this book!i am a big fan anyway and this one was no exception!
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Another very satisfying read from Susan Hill in this very enjoyable tenth book in the series.

We have the now usual mix of family and work again in the storyline which Susan Hill manages to combine into a compelling and absorbing read. Indeed, Cat (Simon’s sister) has a strong part in one thread of this book. Meanwhile Simon, who had seemingly recovered from the devastating incident in book 8, is having panic attacks.

It’s pretty quiet in Lafferton as the book opens so Simon is taking some time off to work on sketches in the Cathedral. Still he is back working and when there is a burglary Simon begins an investigation. He makes a decision which is, with the benefit of hindsight, a big mistake. There are consequences for Simon and it’s the Chief Constable (and Simon’s brother-in-law) Kieron Bright who takes Simon to task over it.

Simon and Cat’s father is also back in Lafferton, not the nicest of people to say the least, he is taken ill and admitted to hospital.

Sam, Cat’s son, is working as a porter in the hospital while he decide what he wants to do.

Oh and then there’s Mephisto, the cat, I don’t doubt that a tear or two maybe shed over this particular strand of the story!

So, yes, plenty of family in this book but still plenty of crime investigation to keep you hooked. All brought together into a satisfying and engrossing read. Still lot’s of ongoing themes which will, no doubt – hopefully, beckon another book soon.


Whilst I purchased both Revenge and The Comforts of Home (these reviews are on my blog) I was delighted to receive an eCopy of The Benefit of Hindsight to read and review from Vintage via NetGalley. I have ordered a signed copy from the author – can’t wait to get it and add to the collection.
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‘The Benefit of Hindsight’ is the tenth book in the Simon Serrailler series by Susan Hill and she covers a lot of ground. At the book’s heart, as with its predecessors, is the town of Lafferton and the Serrailler family. Crime, when it happens, affects so many people and Hill shows this effectively as more and more people are drawn into the aftermath.
The themes of this book are post-traumatic-stress-disorder, pre-natal premonition and post-natal depression, art robbery and private v public healthcare. Written in a list it can seem clinical, but Hill is expert at winding together the personal lives of ordinary people so that you care about them. The continuity of the Serrailler family throughout the series adds the familiarity of real family issues that are not crime-related, just ordinary family stuff. Simon is struggling with the aftermath of his injury, not physically, but with panic attacks. His sister Cat has settled into her job with private GP service Concierge and it is Cat who meets two people central to the story; pregnant mum Carrie who unshakingly believes her baby will be born damaged; and Cindy, wife of businessman and charity supporter, Declan McDermid. 
When a lonely house is burgled in a professionally assessed and organised operation, Simon’s team consults art and antique experts. A second burglary goes wrong, with far-reaching consequences for Simon. The meaning of the novel’s title is key to the plot affecting brother and sister, as Cat’s patient Carrie remains convinced the doctors are unable to diagnose the hidden disease of her newborn baby. As Carrie’s sense of despair deepens, her introverted husband Colin – who she fears would rather spend his time staring at his computer screen trading money, than talking to her – paces around the room ‘like a zoo animal’. The meaning of the book’s title is an indication that Hill is interested as much in the aftermath of a crime, as in the modus operandi of the crime itself. One of the reasons I enjoy this character-led series is the lack of gratuitous violence, I don’t need to skip paragraphs of gory description or violence. That is not to say the books are not thrilling, but they are deeper explorations of the motives, fears and reactions of everyone affected by crime. Importantly, Simon Serrailler is not a perfect policeman, a perfect man; occasionally he allows his own life and emotions to affect his decision-making and must face the consequences.
Susan Hill delivers yet another Serrailler book that does what it says on the tin. Well-written and plotted, familiar but with an unexpected twist, with Simon being strong and mysterious yet vulnerable.
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I'm still working my way through Hill's back catalogue but the Simon Serrailler series is one I'm really enjoying. I definitely need to go back to the beginning though as there is someone who turns up towards the end of this that I imagine was ins ome of the more earlier books and I want to know more. 

This one is quite the mix of Simon's story and that of his sister Cat. I think she has a fairly equal billing in this with her new job at the Concierge surgery. I really enjoyed both sides of this. Again I might have to go back to the beginning and compare but while there are several crimes in this story and some crime detection, it's more about Simon's life and how his issues are affecting everything. There isn't really a proper resolution to the crime part of the plot. I'm okay with that as I enjoy reading about him and Cat. I love all the characters from the family, even their father who does not seem to be a nice person at all. 

It's a fairly quick read and kept my attention all the way through. Another hit and hopefully I'll have caught up by the next one.
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An avid fan of the Simon Serrailler series, I have missed a few but jumped right back in with this one. Superbly plotted as ever, with realistic, flawed characters who leap off the page. The sensitivity in their personal stories is a great juxtaposition with the crime storyline. So glad Susan Hill is writing more of these!
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Did the author get bored and forget to finish the storyline? 

I’m at a loss as to how to review this book. It all started so well. A brilliant con leads to the robbery of a home filled with priceless goods. Then another well-planned burglary again taking only the most expensive items takes place. Unfortunately, the owners returned spooking the thieves and one is killed. 

Quite separate from these two events, we have a couple finding out that they are about to become parents. Neither is prepared and both go into denial until the baby’s birth. The arrival only seems to confuse the already bizarre relationship this couple have further. (Question to the author: what has this to do with the actual investigation into the robberies?) 

Simon Serailler is the Detective Chief Superintendent in charge of the two burglary cases. Does he really want to solve them or is he more interested in sketching the angels in the cathedral? Who stole the items? Will they be caught? Will the items ever be recovered? I can’t answer any of the questions because the author left the whole novel hanging before the investigation had reached any kind of closure. 

A deeply disappointing read


Breakaway Reviewers received a copy of the book to review
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Great, character-led crime back in the company of Simon Serrailler and his family.  Really, this is a book about modern social problems and family dynamics, with a violent crime thrown in, which is probably why I like the Simon Serailler novels so much.  The author doesn't pull any punches when it comes to difficult situations and in a previous novel I felt quite aggrieved at the way a situation was portrayed, however, I feel this one is back to a bit more balance and compassion.  Simon is struggling to cope with his physical disabilities and his long-suffering sister is taking the brunt as usual.  Loved being back in their company, looking forward to the next one.
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Intriguing novel - I would definitely recommend this book for fans of the authors other spooky works
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The title sets the scene for the events in Hill's book. "Hindsight" suggests we look back and regret our actions..."if only", "what if"...and several of the characters indeed regret not acting sooner.
There are robberies, a murder and the birth of a baby all of which provide sources of mystery. I knew neither the characters nor their history and this was problematic as it took a few chapters to sort out who they were and how they were connected. And this lack of connection was a disappointment for me.
The style is great: sparse description, continual action and plenty to work on as a reader but it all felt empty. The characters failed to stir any emotion: in fact they were annoying! There are so many characters that there is no time to connect with any of them and at times we are "dropped" towards the end of an event and only later is this explained.
The idea is a good one but the execution feels contrived.
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Another absorbing, excellently written crime novel in the Simon Serrailer series. As always, the characters are brilliantly well developed and, although not always completely likable – there are definitely elements to both Simon and Cat’s personalities that grate on me at times – they are convincing, and returning to read more about them is like returning to a comforting, old friend.

The plot is complex and intriguing; there are various elements that seem as if they might be unrelated but come together as the novel continues, and some that I thought really would be related to the crime one way or another, and actually weren’t. The story doesn’t just focus on the crime elements but also on family developments and character building in general, and the fact that both Cat and Simon are so involved in the local area means as the reader you continue to get a real sense of the Lafferton community.

I really enjoyed this novel, and it’s definitely a must-read for fans of this series.
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This is the 10th book featuring DC Simon Serrailler. I think I have only read one or two others and can't remember much about them at all, only that I enjoyed them. So I was keen to read this latest installment and felt confident I could pick it up with no problem, despite not having followed Serrailler's career through the intervening eight books. The first surprise was that he's lost his arm!

The novel begins with a young couple stranded at night in bad weather. Their car has broken down and they knock on the door of an isolated house asking to use the phone.

This seemingly innocent incident leads to a succession of events which are intriguing, but ultimately are overtaken by other episodes in the book. Simon's sister is working as a private GP and has her own investigation into the mother of a new baby.

While this book may have been a closer reflection of real life events where investigations don't have dramatic revelations etc, I missed the tidiness of a traditional crime novel. The burglary investigation fizzled out, I felt. And the conclusion to the situation with the mother and baby also felt an anticlimax.

But this was an enjoyable read. I loved it! And I will return to earlier Simon Serrailler stories.
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*Many thanks to Susan Hill, Random House UK and NetGalley for arc in exchange for my honest review.*
I am new to the series, and though it may sound weird to read Book 10, I was looking forward to this book as I value Susan Hill for her other novels. 
I enjoyed the main plot and subplots, introduced thanks to Simon's sister Cat. Simon has the traits that I like: he is intelligent, with artistic inclinations and rough days behind him.
This book reads well and I can fully understand the enthusiasm behind the reviews.
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This was my first foray into the Serailliercseries of books by Susan Hill and will not be my last. I managed to piece together some of the characters  back story. Simon has returned  to his home force after a significant been expected due to a serious incident . All seems quiet until there are a couple of significant burglaries in the area. Simon makes an unfortunate decision putting the resolution and his future in jeopardy. There is a great  deal of family interaction in this book    Making it almost feel like a well written family saga with a police theme. I did enjoy it.
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Fabulous series another great read in this series.Simon Serririllarback at work after a horrific accident.Susan Hills writing her characters never fail to draw me in keep me reading late into the night.A terrific addition to the series #netgalley#randomhouseuk
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** spoiler alert ** I received a free digital copy of this book on exchange for an honest review.

I've always enjoyed Susan Hill's writing so was looking forward to reading the latest book in her Simon Serrailler series. I haven't read the rest of the series (still in my tbr) so i wasn't sure what to expect.

The story focuses on distraction burglaries taking place in the local neighbourhood. The first burglary is a young, male couple who are living an opulent lifestyle in a farmhouse. The burglars pretend to be lost and few days later write to offer them tickets to the opera (and rob them while they are out). The second burglary is against a local businessman and his wife who have just donated money to the police. In the robbery they are disturbed and the wife is killed. Simon is sent to investigate the burglaries and murders with his team.

The story also weaves in a story about a couple with a newborn baby and how the woman is convinced something is genetically wrong with the baby. Simon's sister is the local private doctor and she gets drawn into their complicated relationship.

I liked how the book centered on Simon, his relationship with his team and his immediate family. However I was confused that by the end of the book the reader knows nothing about who committed the burglaries...left unresolved?

It was a well written book with detailed characters but for me having unresolved plot lines Is really frustrating
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Trying to deal with his own problems Simon Serallier needs to focus on a crime which has targeted the wealthy and has specific items on their 'shopping' list.
He is trying to do this while dealing with his issues, and lapses of health and judgements.

A good novel but the focus on the detectives issues detracts from the story and hinders the narrative.
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The massively underrated Susan Hill returns to form with the gripping and gritty tenth instalment in the long-running, critically acclaimed Simon Serrailler crime fiction series, and I must say I am overjoyed that the standard has risen to what it was a couple of books ago when I sadly had to face the possibility that one of my all-time favourite set of police procedural's was rapidly losing steam and at its natural conclusion. Fear not - she is back. From the opening pages, we are drawn into an absorbing, exquisitely constructed mystery with plenty of pep and pizazz and a cast who feel like friends now we have been in this together for the long haul. The plethora of twists and turns, peaks and troughs are well thought out propelling the narrative forward in style and holding you more captive with each additional turn of the page.

Anyone who appreciates multifaceted and sophisticated, detail-oriented stores will simply adore these books. Given they are part of a series I recommend reading them in chronological order as intended simply to get the most out of them, however, that is certainly not a necessity and it would be the perfect time to take the plunge now that Ms Hill has penned the most addictive entertaining instalment to date; it makes me incredibly excited that Simon is back in business and that we will be reacquainted again for another thrilling adventure in the not so distant future. This is crime writing at its finest; raw, gutsy, undiluted, potent and written with a wonderful flair that is difficult to describe until you experience it for oneself. Many thanks to Chatto & Windus for an ARC.
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I was really disappointed with the previous book in this series (The comforts of home) and was hesitant to pick this one up but I'm so glad I did. It feels like a true return to form with a nice balance  of the professional police work and the family lives of Simon, Cat etc. I will be recommending this to all library customers who enjoy a good crime novel
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My thanks to Random House U.K. Vintage/Chatto & Windus for an eARC via NetGalley of Susan Hill’s ‘The Benefit of Hindsight’ in exchange for an honest review.

This is the tenth in her popular DCS Simon Serrailler series of police procedurals. I have read all but the ninth, ‘The Comforts of Home’, so have a fairly strong background on the characters and setting.

Serrailler has returned to his position with Lafferton CID after a period away recuperating from the devastating injury that cost him his arm. (Clearly I need to read Book 9!) Things initially are quite quiet in terms of crime but then there is a high end burglary that utilises a sophisticated technique to gain access to the property. Simon makes a decision in respect to the investigation that subsequently endangers his professional reputation.

Meanwhile, his sister, Dr. Cat Deerbon, has left the NHS for private practice and is dealing with two difficult cases involving local women, both which call upon her investigative skills.

As with the others in this series this is as much a character-led drama as a police procedural with aspects of family life and various social issues linked to Lafferton integrated into the narrative alongside the crime that is being investigated.

The title’s meaning is made clear when Simon discusses with Cat the nature of their professions: “Doctors, coppers–we make decisions all the time, we make judgement calls. Sometimes we’re wrong, sometimes we’re right, sometimes we just get away with it and sometimes we don’t.”

While sufficient background is provided, this is a series that I feel is best read in order to understand the development of the characters over time.

These are characters that I have taken a journey with and recognise the quality of Susan Hill’s writing and consider it literary crime fiction. The poignant final pages brought me to tears. I certainly recommend this novel and the series as a whole.
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I love Susan  Hill and was not disappointed with this book even though I am not really a huge fan of police/crime novels. I hadn't read the other 9 books in this series but I feel that I didn't really lose anything from the story for this. 

The novel had lots of interesting elements for me. I enjoyed the background of the characters involved in this case, especially the main character, Serailler. Again, not having read the other books I was slightly disadvantaged in what had happened to him previously but I did come to realise that the 'trauma' he had been involved with had left him with mental health issues (or this was my take on it, at least!). I found this a very interesting character development. 

The actual crime itself was interesting and wasn't lost in the characterisation of the main players and I felt satisfied with the storyline. 

I absolutely love the gothic novels by Susan Hill but this has been a real eye-opener to her other talents as a writer. I enjoyed it.
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