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Extended Audio Sample The Vows of Silence Audiobook, by Susan Hill Click for printable size audiobook cover
3.33 out of 53.33 out of 53.33 out of 53.33 out of 53.33 out of 5 3.33 (52 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Susan Hill Narrator: Steven Pacey Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Related: The Simon Serrailler Mysteries Release Date: December 2011 ISBN: 9781482981865
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Hill’s readers met the enigmatic and brooding Simon Serrailler in The Various Haunts of Men and got to know him better in The Pure in Heart and The Risk of Darkness. The Vows of Silence, the fourth crime novel featuring Chief Inspector Serrailler, is perhaps even more compulsive and convincing than its predecessors.

A gunman is terrorizing young women in the cathedral town of Lafferton. What, if anything, links the apparently random murders? Is the marksman with the rifle the same as the killer with the handgun?

With the complexity and character study that earned raves for The Pure in Heart and the relentless pacing and plot twists of The Various Haunts of Men, The Vows of Silence is truly the work of a writer at the top of her form.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Hill tackles Val McDermid territory with a bit more subtlety and a close look at love—how it begins, persists and ends—that may have readers turning to their significant others for a reassuring kiss.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • “This top-notch, tautly plotted British mystery series just keeps getting better. Serrailler is a satisfyingly complex character with a challenging job aided by a supporting cast of strong and believable characters.”

    Library Journal

  • “The fact that The Vows of Silence is light on what traditionally constitutes a mystery plot hardly registers. It’s the intelligence of this brooding series that rivets a reader’s attention.”

    Washington Post

  • Selected for the November 2009 Indie Next List

Listener Opinions

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Ellen Johnson | 2/17/2014

    " A recounting of tragedy after tragedy with few connections between them. The detective Serailler is a likable character, but the book didn't really hang together. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lynne | 2/7/2014

    " I've now read the first four of the series. I like it a lot, but it is strange in some ways. The first book, for instance, hardly featured the protagonist at all; it was mainly about a new employee who was attracted to him. The next three, we have the protagonist, but I don't much like him. He's a cold fish who treats women badly. However, the mysteries are good, and I really like the guy's sister, a doctor. This is a really good series, and I don't have to like the protagonist, as evidenced by my current feelings for Thomas Lynley. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jane | 2/5/2014

    " This series of books is brilliantly written but I am starting to have slight misgivings. Firstly the tone is so melancholy - you wouldn't want to be depressed when you are reading these. Also aside from the murders there are too many deaths. Serailler will have no family left soon. I will read the next one but then I have to read something light with a bit of humour. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sammcnair | 1/31/2014

    " This book was about 1 or more snipers killing young women in the town. It was kind of depressing--there were more deaths than just the murders! However, the author does a pretty good job of throwing in more stuff from day to day living so that it has highs and lows. I like this serial, because the "regulars" progress through their lives. That, however, makes it more essential to read them in order! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sally | 1/27/2014

    " Getting to know Simon Serrailler is an excruciatingly slow business. In real life, the effort would be far too much. In this series, Simon's world pulls you in without any effort at all. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Dianne | 1/24/2014

    " I enjoyed the regular characters more than the mystery in book #4 of the Simon Serrailler series. They endured real life drama & tragedies with panache, while the police force kept me entertained. I will read one more if and when it becomes available. They are quick, easy reads that make sitting in a waiting room much more entertaining. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Penny | 1/24/2014

    " Book 4 in the Simon Serrailler series. Well written, great characters, sad in parts (sometimes unnecesarily so). "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Martha Fiorentini | 1/22/2014

    " The darkest & bleakest yet. I haven't decided whether or not I will read the next one. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Gill | 1/20/2014

    " A very enjoyable crime mystery with twists and turns and good characterisations. The plot is given depth by the personal lives of the main protagonists and minor characters. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Megan | 1/19/2014

    " The is the fourth book in a series, and the fourth that i have read. I am quite impressed by them. Hill not only writes a decent mystery, but, more particularly, does an amazing job of creating characters with depth, flaws, and heroism. The study of the personalities is fascinating, and, i think, well done. I also appreciate that these books both manage to be completely modern, and capture some of that 'cozy' feel of English mysteries on which i was raised. One caveat - the realism of the people, and the scenarios, and the dark tilt of the mystery plot, combined with a stark inclusion of difficult (but real) life events in a family make these books sometimes difficult to read - this one struck some emotional cords for me. I think this is probably my favorite new mystery author (wherein new is a relative term, of course). "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Gail | 1/12/2014

    " I'm on page 143 of 320 of The Vows of Silence: I was given this and am quite enjoying it - even though I am not a detective novel type reader per se ... So much so I have ordered the first in the series (this is fourth but it stands alone which is handy.) But then it is by Susan Hill, who writes so beautifully, even in this rather hackneyed and over-populated genre. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Pat | 1/10/2014

    " This series is growing on me. However, the changes in her protagonist's personal life are at least as interesting as the mystery to be solved at the heart of the book. It will be interesting to see how all of that plays out in the next books in the series. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mary G. | 1/9/2014

    " Susan Hill has fast become one of favorite authors. Her stories are more than just a mystery, it is a story of a family and place. The characters are very real. Always look forward to the next story. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lisa | 1/7/2014

    " This one I found not as good as previous Serrailler cases. It was going fine until near the end for me when it seemed to go off on a tangent. The dots didn't quite join up for me with this one. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Heather | 12/31/2013

    " Hill is not afraid to kill off any character or reveal any character's dark side. I wasn't even close in guessing this one. Ah joy! Fortunately, I have #5 right here. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mary Kay | 12/23/2013

    " The Serailler family is undergoing some really hard times. Meanwhile, Simon Serailler is investigating a series of apparently random murders of young women. I really like this series & the characters, but this entry was a real downer. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lila | 12/21/2013

    " I read this out of order in the series, which is not ideal. I thought it, like the other Susan Hill Serrailler crime novels, was very good. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Linda Michael | 12/7/2013

    " I am almost finished reading The Vows of Silence. I love all of Susan Hills novels . I love Cat and her beleaguered family. the mystery is almost unimportant, as the true focus of her books are existential issues....life,loss,death what does it all mean and how can we deal? Moving,sad and spot on! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Lorna | 12/2/2013

    " Read it on the way to France. Cant remember much about it so all I can give!! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Kirsten | 12/1/2013

    " OK, I'm giving up on this series after four books, which is a rarity for me. It's just too dark. I don't want to know how lovable a victim is before she is killed. I don't want such tragedy in the lives of the main characters. Where is the balance? A reader needs hope. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Leonore | 10/30/2013

    " Its the 4th and I am hooked on this series. She does well with character development. Most touch-feely of the series "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Charleen | 10/26/2013

    " 4th SS. More death. I'm not sure I would classify this as a detective series as he doesn't seem so good at detecting "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Lorna | 10/9/2013

    " Read it on the way to France. Cant remember much about it so all I can give!! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Catherine | 10/5/2013

    " I probably wouldn't read any more of this authors books because her mystery was easy to figure out and I just finished because I wanted to see how it all tied up. In fact it probably is a two star. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lynn Kearney | 9/23/2013

    " I'm not reading these in the right order, but still find the characters compelling, even if I know what's going to happen to them in another book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Gill | 8/10/2013

    " A very enjoyable crime mystery with twists and turns and good characterisations. The plot is given depth by the personal lives of the main protagonists and minor characters. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mary | 5/11/2013

    " Another well-written mystery! A sharp-shooter is picking off women and Simon can't find him. Very interesting twist at very end - surprising! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Ellen Johnson | 2/7/2013

    " A recounting of tragedy after tragedy with few connections between them. The detective Serailler is a likable character, but the book didn't really hang together. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ann Chappe | 12/11/2012

    " First books in this series were a little wooden, but they just keep on getting better, and the characters more well rounded. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Rae | 12/5/2012

    " #4 in the Simon Serrailler series. The small cathedral town of Lafferton experiences more violence than most large cities, it seems. It's beginning to get a bit tiresome, although I am still enjoying the village people. I'll read #5 but might be glad to let it all go after that... "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Leonore | 11/18/2012

    " Its the 4th and I am hooked on this series. She does well with character development. Most touch-feely of the series "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Connie | 8/31/2012

    " So far this is the first book in the series where the murders are resolved and I was able to figure out who was responsible. Somewhat sad series of events for his family but I'm definitely hooked by this set of characters and have picked up the next one to start reading today! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lisa | 8/29/2012

    " This one I found not as good as previous Serrailler cases. It was going fine until near the end for me when it seemed to go off on a tangent. The dots didn't quite join up for me with this one. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Turi | 8/19/2012

    " I have really enjoyed each of the Simon Serrailier mysteries by Susan Hill. The mystery is always good, but her main characters are wonderfully real and touching. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lori | 6/20/2012

    " this was great! who would have thought, one of their own? "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Camilla | 5/11/2012

    " The stories are getting a little formulaic and the characters slightly annoying, but I still enjoy the series. Maybe you really shouldn't read all 4 books in a row! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Shirley | 3/1/2012

    " Continue to be really hooked on this Simon Serrailler series. The ability to create both a great mystery and great real-life characters with such insight to normal daily life. Will be sorry to finish the final one in the series. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Hajer Elmahdi | 12/27/2011

    " It's kind of slow and it takes time for you to like it, all and all i liked it . "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Christa | 12/18/2011

    " Jeez, will anyone in the Serailler family live to the end of the series? This one wasn't my favorite. Way too obvi who the killer was, and hardly anything in the way of police work. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Turi | 10/2/2011

    " I have really enjoyed each of the Simon Serrailier mysteries by Susan Hill. The mystery is always good, but her main characters are wonderfully real and touching. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Rachael Gorman | 6/28/2011

    " My favourite in the series made me cry as I feel I know the characters so well. What I like about Susans books she doesn't give you a sugar coated ending, it's not happy ever after and the central family to the book have a lot to deal with in this book. Best so far "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Leslie | 5/1/2011

    " Since I really liked her "Howard's End..." I came back to this series, but I still don't like Simon. oh well, the mystery's good, and there are plenty of other characters. I guess I'll keep reading them to see if he changes. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Camilla | 3/8/2011

    " The stories are getting a little formulaic and the characters slightly annoying, but I still enjoy the series. Maybe you really shouldn't read all 4 books in a row! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Shirley | 3/5/2011

    " Continue to be really hooked on this Simon Serrailler series. The ability to create both a great mystery and great real-life characters with such insight to normal daily life. Will be sorry to finish the final one in the series. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Martha | 1/2/2011

    " The darkest & bleakest yet. I haven't decided whether or not I will read the next one. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lisa | 1/1/2011

    " The second I've read of her Simon Serrailler mysteries. A good mystery plot and some moving storyline with this one. I'll try more in this series for sure. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mary Kay | 9/21/2010

    " The Serailler family is undergoing some really hard times. Meanwhile, Simon Serailler is investigating a series of apparently random murders of young women. I really like this series & the characters, but this entry was a real downer. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lynn | 8/7/2010

    " I'm not reading these in the right order, but still find the characters compelling, even if I know what's going to happen to them in another book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mary | 6/9/2010

    " Susan Hill has fast become one of favorite authors. Her stories are more than just a mystery, it is a story of a family and place. The characters are very real. Always look forward to the next story. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Erin | 4/20/2010

    " Something to tide me over until my requested books come in at the library "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Soobee72 | 4/17/2010

    " Like the others in this series, this is really well written, but it's not exactly enjoyable. It has a very bleak tone to the whole thing that make that difficult. I will say that I am very grateful for the last two pages because otherwise...As I said, bleak. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Susan | 2/15/2010

    " Another good book in this British series. Though frustrating at times and sad throughout. But looking forward to the next one and the end makes clear there is a next one. Like Simon's private life more than the mystery stuff. "

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About the Author
Author Susan Hill

Susan Hill, a full-time writer since 1963, has written over forty novels, numerous nonfiction books, novellas, short stories, and several books for children. In addition to her writing, she edits short-story compilations, writes a monthly column for the Daily Telegraph, and runs a literary magazine, Books and Company. She has also formed a publishing company, Long Barn Books, inspired by her lifelong admiration for Virginia Woolf and the Hogarth Press. She was a finalist for the Man Booker Prize and has won the Whitbread, Somerset Maugham, and John Llewellyn Rhys awards for her adult novels, as well as the Smarties Prize for a children’s book.

About the Narrator

Steven Pacey’s extensive work in the West End includes the role of Alec in Dolly West’s Kitchen, Stanley in The Birthday Party, Hamish in Things We Do for Love, and Bertie Wooster in By Jeeves—for which he earned an Olivier Award nomination. He was also directed by Harold Pinter in his successful productions of Celebration and The Room. Pacey has appeared in numerous television roles, including Tarrant in Blake’s 7, and has made over three hundred radio broadcasts. His audiobook narration has won him three AudioFile Earphones Awards.