I think it's a bit much when you know an author like Susan Hill as I do (I pitch up for the Long Barn Books editorial board meetings and eat the free lunch) and offer them good solid plot lines which they choose to ignore, but then they still write a cracking good book, and thus has Susan dared with The Vows of Silence.
It was high risk because my suggestions for Simon Serrailler's future were good ones, of that I'm sure, and if taken up would surely have earned me the dedication of the book...'To dovegreyreader, with grateful thanks'.
As it is the book is dedicated to 'The Wedding Guests' and I happen to know which wedding guests.
Just because I am not royalty and don't live in Clarence House, well honestly, were their suggestions really as good as mine? I doubt it.
So having got all that off my chest and having decided that I wasn't going to be a wimp like Mariella Frostrup and cry I made a start.
Actually I did shed a little tear, so might you, there's one line that did for me and if you want an emotional crime-laden page-turner look no further. It's not just crime , it's people's lives under the microscope too and I've had two very late nights holding Simon's hand and mopping his fevered brow through this one as the gunman on the loose in Lafferton wreaks havoc amongst the local population. Shoals of red herrings led me up countless garden paths as I tried to pin down the perpetrator and there's tragedy nearer home too, and to be honest I don't know how Susan thinks all this up, plots it so minutely and then writes it so well. Intentionally or otherwise I spotted some tongue-in-cheek humour too and I think she has the makings of a really successful author and this will be assured if only Susan takes my advice for Serrailler number five.
He must get married and start work on triplets of his own or go to a monastery and become one of those monastic super-sleuths, nothing else will do. He could be called DCS Brother Caedfel or something, no one's thought of that yet, just think how popular that would be and it could all extend the series indefinitely.
Seriously, don't miss number four in the Simon Serrailler series and whilst we're looking at the work of a promising writer be sure not to miss Susan's novella, The Beacon out later this year. That one I have read and I can't recommend it highly enough, it's a book with an afterburn that zaps you about three hours later and will leave you tying yourself up in knots trying to decide the truth for months afterwards.
Meanwhile don't miss this promising author on Open Book on BBC Radio Four tomorrow. I've got my copy of The Vows of Silence ready for signing next time we meet and I fully expect it to earn a priceless comment after a 'review' like this.