The Soul of Discretion

The Soul of Discretion

A Chief Superintendent Simon Serrailler Mystery

Additional Formats
  • Hardcover
  • ISBN 9781468301458
  • 336 Pages
  • Overlook Books
  • Adult


In the eighth of the successful Simon Serrailler series, the Chief Superintendent is faced with worse crimes than ever, and the town of Lafferton is left reeling


Susan Hill—the Man Booker Prize nominee and winner of the Whitbread, Somerset Maugham, and John Llewellyn Rhys awards—returns with a gripping new novel, the latest chapter in one of the most acclaimed mystery series of our time.

From the outside, the cathedral town of Lafferton seems idyllic, but in many ways it is just like any other place. It suffers from the same kinds of crime, is subject to the same pressures from a rapidly changing world, and has the same hopes and fears as any number of towns up and down the land.

When Simon Serrailler is called in by Lafferton’s new Chief Constable, Kieran Bright, he is met by two plainclothes officers, who ask him to take the principal role in a difficult, potentially dangerous undercover operation. He must leave town immediately, without telling anyone—not even his girlfriend Rachel, who has only just moved in with him.

Meanwhile, Simon’s sister Cat is facing difficult choices at work, as Lafferton’s hospice closes its bedded units—and at home, as her daughter is presented with a glittering opportunity that they would have to struggle to afford. And all is not well with Simon and Cat’s stepmother, Judith, either.

To complete his special operation, Simon must inhabit the mind of the worst kind of criminal. This takes its toll on Simon and—as the investigation unfolds—also on the town and some of its most respected citizens.


“This is Susan Hill at her brooding best…There are many kinds of ghosts, and this author explores all of their possibilities.” —The Washington Times

“Touching stories blend with a chillingly believable, fast-paced murder investigation. Followers of British procedurals won’t want to miss this outstanding contribution, which will only further Hill’s award-winning reputation.” —Library Journal (Starred Review)

“Hill takes on a difficult subject in this eighth Serrailler mystery by showing how horrific these crimes are, while avoiding graphic descriptions, and by interspersing other characters’ concerns to lessen the impact of pedophilia. Fans of the series won’t want to miss this involving, suspenseful entry, and even newcomers will find that the backstory enables the story to stand on its own.” Booklist

“Hill doesn’t shy away from taking her characters into difficult territory, and The Soul of Discretion is definitely her most nerve-racking novel yet.” —IndieBound

“Hill’s latest will challenge the reader to tackle some controversial subjects while enjoying crisp prose that will keep the pages turning long through the night.” —

“Brilliantly executed as always, Hill’s newest is gripping from the opening page until (literally) the closing sentence.” —Bookpage

Praise for the Simon Serrailler Mysteries:

“Not all great novelists can write crime fiction, but when one like Susan Hill does it, the result is stunning.” —Ruth Rendell
“As every Trollope reader knows, English cathedral towns can be hotbeds of viciousness and vice. And so it is in Lafferton, where Susan Hill sets her thoughtful mysteries.” —The New York Times Book Review
“Beautifully written . . . Hill is giving us a timeless panorama of life and death in an English town, one in which a murder investigation is only one drama among many.” —Entertainment Weekly
“Hill can take us anywhere, keeping us interested . . . She knows how to keep those pages turning.” —Chicago Sun-Times