Easily one of my all-time favorite detective series, Book 11 in the Simon Serrailler series, “A Change in Circumstance” is every bit as wonderfully engaging as its precedents.
Detective Chief Superintendent Simon Serrailler, a complex man who is something of an emotional enigma, has an exceptionally close relationship with his twin sister, Cat, a medical doctor who spends a good deal of her time as Simon’s sounding board. As the center of his familial support system, Cat, at the same time, is inclined to challenge and force examination of the emotional motives Simon works so hard to suppress.
Over the books, and over the years, the Serrailler family drama has ripened, with growth and texture added that make, for this reader, coming back to visit these characters every bit as satisfying and necessary as the crime story that inevitably unfolds.
As Cat has grown into her role as matriarch of the Serrailler family, the author’s focus has expanded to include a fascinating look at the challenges and difficulties she experiences in providing support and love, and at the same time, allowing respect for the independent choices of a maturing family.
Simon’s detective-based sub-plot of “A Change of Circumstance” centers on an onslaught of deaths and violence related to a “county line” which has been recently installed and is expanding in and around the outskirts of Lafferty. “County lines”, as the author explains, are local networks drug runners employ, consisting of village children groomed and blackmailed to deliver drug packages (allowing them to work underground, completely escaping police suspicion).
As always, the plot is twisty, suspenseful and peppered with interesting insights on the British medical system, village life in rural Britain, the struggles of the working classes, and gender and politics in policing. The crimes are nasty, horrific and sobering, and the insights gained into the ever-expanding drug world are both disturbing and alarming.
I enjoyed this book tremendously. A great big thank you to the author, the publisher and to Edelweiss+ for an ARC of this book. All thoughts presented are my own.