More praise on Susan Hill's magnificent mysteries set in the English cathedral town of Lafferton: "In The Vows of Silence, the fourth Simon Serrailler mystery, Susan Hill picks up where she left off in The Risk of Darkness. Detective Chief Superintendent Serrailler remains a loner who relishes his job and enjoys his passion for drawing. His warm and compassionate sister, Dr. Cat Deerbon, her husband, Chris, and their three small children return from their nine-month stay in Australia, and Simon resumes his old habit of dropping by to hang out with Cat and her family. However, there are changes in store for the residents of the cathedral town of Lafferton, and not all of them are pleasant.
Hill has never shied away from depicting life’s tragedies. Characters whom we have come to care about experience misfortune and heartbreak, and the author makes no attempt to sugarcoat their grief. The whodunit involves an expert marksman who shoots young women and then disappears, leaving behind no forensic evidence. As the number of victims rises, Simon and his team pull out all the stops to catch the predator. However, without witnesses or any helpful leads, the detectives are frustrated by their inability to apprehend the killer.
The strength of this book lies in its lucid prose style, beautiful descriptive writing, smooth dialogue, and superb characterizations. There are touching scenes between a fifty-two year old man and a forty-six year old woman who are dating for the first time after losing their spouses. Hill sensitively captures their reluctance to take a risk with someone new, lest they experience further heartbreak. The author suggests that all change brings with it an element of uncertainty. When someone takes on a new job, establishes a new relationship, or moves to a new location, there is always the possibility of disappointment. However, if we remain mired in our comfortable and familiar routines out of fear, we may miss out on wonderful experiences and satisfying relationships. . . Susan Hill draws us in and keeps us in thrall, as we eagerly wait to learn what will happen next. " - Mostly Fiction