Books

From the Heart

Susan Hill

You’re a young woman. You can choose. Which career to pursue. Who to have sex with. Who to marry and have children – or not – with. This is now.

Step into the shoes of Olive. You’re a happy, open-hearted girl. Your (tricky) mother is dead and you live with your father in a solid, Edwardian house with apple trees in the garden. Your passion for books gets you easily into university, where the world is surely waiting for you.

There, you meet a boy. But then you make a mistake – the kind any one of us could make – and face an impossible choice. You are young, still, and full of hope. You can’t possibly know how that mistake will sit in your heart. Or that when you get a job at a school you will fall in love with an older colleague. But the affair must stay secret; the world won’t have it any other way.

All you have ever wanted is for your heart to be free. But you are living in a time and place where freedoms we now take for granted had the power to destroy.


PRAISE FOR SUSAN HILL

'Subtle and profoundly moving... one of our finest novelists' Sunday Times

'Almost unbearably poignant... this short book will live long in the memory' Independent on Sunday

'A novel of great structural and stylistic control' Guardian

The Soul of Discretion

Susan Hill

The New Simon Serrailler Case from Susan Hill, the bestselling author of The Woman in Black

SIMON SERRAILLER FACES HIS MOST DANGEROUS CHALLENGE YET

Going undercover, he must leave town immediately, change his identity and sever all contact with friends and family.

And, more importantly, he must inhabit the mind of the worst kind of criminal.

But can he do so without losing everything?

The Woman In Black

Susan Hill

‘I did not believe in ghosts’

Few attend Mrs Alice Drablow’s funeral, and not one blood relative amongst them. There are undertakers with shovels, of course, a local official who would rather be anywhere else, and one Mr Arthur Kipps, solicitor from London. He is to spend the night in Eel Marsh House, the place where the old recluse died amidst a sinking swamp, a blinding fog and a baleful mystery about which the townsfolk refuse to speak.

Young Mr Kipps expects a boring evening alone sorting out paperwork and searching for Mrs Drablow’s will. But when the high tide pens him in, what he finds – or rather what finds him – is something else entirely.

In the 'Backstory' discover more classic ghost stories and some real-life ones too...

Vintage Children’s Classics is a twenty-first century classics list aimed at 8-12 year olds and the adults in their lives. Discover timeless favourites from The Jungle Book and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland to modern classics such as The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.

Black Sheep

Susan Hill

‘Powerful… Poignant, bleak and haunting, this is a small masterpiece’ Sunday Mirror

Brother and sister, Ted and Rose Howker, grew up in Mount of Zeal, a mining village blackened by coal. They know nothing of the outside world, though both of them yearn for escape. For Rose this comes in the form of love, while Ted seizes the chance of a job away from the pit. But neither can truly break free and their decisions bring with them brutal consequences…

‘Gripping all the way to its unexpected end’ Spectator

I'm the King of the Castle

Susan Hill

I'm the King of the Castle by Susan Hill is a chilling novel that explores the extremes of childhood cruelty, now published as a Penguin Essential for the first time.

'Some people are coming here today, now you will have a companion.'

But young Edmund Hooper doesn't want anyone else in Warings, the large and rambling Victorian house he shares with his widowed father. Nevertheless Charles Kingshaw and his mother are soon installed and Hooper sets about subtly persecuting the fearful new arrival.

In the woods, Charles fights back but he knows that his rival will always win the affections of the adults - and that worse is still to come . . .

A Question of Identity

Susan Hill

How do you catch a killer who doesn't exist?

One snowy night in the cathedral city of Lafferton, an old woman is dragged from her bed and strangled with a length of flex.

DCS Simon Serrailler and his team search desperately for clues to her murderer. All they know is that the killer will strike again, and will once more leave the same tell-tale signature.

Then they track down a name: Alan Keyes. But Alan Keyes has no birth certificate, no address, no job, no family, no passport, no dental records. Nothing.

Their killer does not exist.

'As addictive as Rankin' Scotsman

The Betrayal of Trust

Susan Hill

Heavy rain falls on Lafferton. As the rain water slowly drains away, a shallow grave – and a skeleton – are revealed.


It doesn't take long to identify the remains as those of missing teenager, Harriet Lowther, who was last seen sixteen years ago.

But a cold case isn't a priority: if Detective Inspector Simon Serrailler is to solve the case, he will have to do it alone.

Moonraker

Ian Fleming (and others)

WITH A NEW INTRODUCTION BY SUSAN HILL

‘For several minutes he stood speechless, his eyes dazzled by the terrible beauty of the greatest weapon on earth’

He’s a self-made millionaire, head of the Moonraker rocket programme and loved by the press. So why is Sir Hugo Drax cheating at cards? Bond has just five days to uncover the sinister truth behind a national hero, in Ian Fleming’s third 007 adventure.

In the Springtime of the Year

Susan Hill

After just a year of close, loving marriage, Ruth has been widowed. Her beloved husband, Ben, has been killed in a tragic accident and Ruth is left, suddenly and totally bereft.

Unable to share her sorrow and grief with Ben's family, who are dealing with their pain in their own way, Ruth becomes increasingly isolated, burying herself in her cottage in the countryside as the seasons change around her. Only Ben's young brother Jo, is able to reach out beyond his own grief, to offer Ruth the compassion which might reclaim her from her own devastating unhappiness.

The result is a moving, lyrical exploration of love and loss, of grief and mourning, from a masterful writer.

Simon Serrailler Bundle: The Pure in Heart/The Various Haunts of Men

Susan Hill

Introducing Detective Simon Serrailler... in the first two cases in Susan Hill's gripping crime series

In The Various Haunts of Men Detective Chief Inspector Simon Serrailler and a new member of the station, Detective Sergeant Freya Graffham investigate the disappearance of a local woman from the peaceful cathedral town of Lafferton. As more people vanish, Simon and Freya are forced to embark on a complicated mission to unravel the mystery and enter the mind of a killer.

In The Pure in Heart Simon Serrailler is nursing a broken heart while trying to deal with a new and worrying case: the kidnapping of a young boy on his way to school. As the family of the missing boy falls apart, and more children are taken, the station - and Simon - begin to lose hope...

A Kind Man

Susan Hill

Tommy Carr was a kind man; Eve had been able to tell that after half an hour of knowing him. There had never been a day when he had not shown her some small kindness and even after the tragic death of their young daughter, their relationship remained as strong as before. Grief takes its toll however, and it’s not surprising that by the following Christmas, Tommy is a shadow of his former self, with the look of death upon him.

But what happens next is entirely unexpected, not least for the kind man...

The Boy Who Taught The Beekeeper To Read (Storycuts)

Susan Hill

Beekeeper and odd job man Mart May is befriended by a curious and lonely boy whilst tending to errands around the prestigious home of Lady Burnett. As the two begin to bond, the boy, James, discovers the secret of Mart's illiteracy and - startled and concerned - takes on the task of teaching his reluctant subject to read and write. Yet when the summer holidays end, the isolated world in which the characters have grown close is broken by a return to the normality of routine and convention.

Part of the Storycuts series, this short story was previously published in the collection The Boy Who Taught the Beekeeper to Read.

Father, Father (Storycuts)

Susan Hill

Two sisters are distressed and disturbed by their father's display of 'desperate, choking, terrified devotion' to their mother as she lies dying in her bed. Time begins to heal the wounds inflicted by the loss, yet the sisters fear that their father may never recover. But as the ghost of his grief finally begins to relinquish its hold over the family home, the sisters are surprised to find that it is they who are totally unprepared for their father's first steps into an unforeseen future.

Part of the Storycuts series, this short story was previously published in the collection The Boy Who Taught the Beekeeper to Read

Sand / Elizabeth (Storycuts)

Susan Hill

In 'Sand', sisters Clara and Lizzie recall an extraordinary childhood trip to the beach with their surly mother who, coming across a wailing boy, had calmly handed him her handkerchief; the sacred relic which she kept in her purse at all times, and which had belonged to her beloved late father, which she had - until that moment - guarded with her life.

In 'Elizabeth', 'There's a world beyond yourself you must break through to,' Elizabeth's mother chides, lest her only daughter inherit her own ill-fate: doomed to scrape by on the bottom rung of society, married to a feckless man who would put his own sense of adventure before his wife's ill-health. Timid Elizabeth is initially terrified by the thought of leaving her insular existence, but when tragedy strikes her family, she resolves to follow her mother's advice and break free.

Part of the Storycuts series, these two short stories were previously published in the collection The Boy Who Taught the Beekeeper to Read.

The Brooch (Storycuts)

Susan Hill

Rima treasures the weekly routine she shares with her blind uncle; their walks along the beach, followed by cosy meals in a local cafe. Impressed by her uncle's intelligence and dedication to his work, most of all Rima is awed by his ability to hide his blindness from others, to live a normal life thanks to his strict routine. However, when her uncle confides in her a devastating change in his circumstances, Rima can only watch as his strictly-governed world crumbles, and a more vulnerable figure is revealed.

Part of the Storycuts series, this short story was previously published in the collection The Boy Who Taught the Beekeeper to Read.

Antonyin's (Storycuts)

Susan Hill

After arriving in the cold, grey city of Vldansk, a lone Englishman spends his days battling hunger, unable to stomach the greasy local 'delicacies' - that is, until he discovers Antonyin's. But his joy at having found the inviting cafe is tarnished when he is haunted by a strange, unattractive woman who comes in nightly, seeking him out. When she finally puts forward to the man a startling proposition, he is repulsed and appalled; yet it prompts an unshakeable idea to take root in his mind.

Part of the Storycuts series, this short story was previously published in the collection The Boy Who Taught the Beekeeper to Read.

Need / Moving Messages (Storycuts)

Susan Hill

In 'Need', Biddy longs to escape the noise and claustrophobia of the travelling circus she calls home, the chaotic family she shares her cramped quarters with, and the teasing, intimidating presence of Little Midge - the neighbour boy who spies on her. The lack of a plan and her attachment to the frail fortune-teller Rosa, is all that prevents Biddy from leaving. But when tragedy strikes, Biddy finds comfort in an unlikely figure.

In 'Moving messages', Didi is afflicted by a curious condition: 'poetic tinnitus', which causes poetic snippets to ricochet around her mind at all moments. Despite this, she feels content with her lot, living in the country and making quilts to forge a living. She is happy - or is she? When Didi visits a glamorous old school companion in London, her self-doubt flares up, but she soon begins to see the cracks beneath the perfect veneer of her friend's life.

Part of the Storycuts series, these two short stories were previously published in the collection The Boy Who Taught the Beekeeper to Read.

The Punishment (Storycuts)

Susan Hill

On a deserted beach battered by rain, a group of boys plot a wicked deed. 'We'll shoot the crucifix,' Deano declares, but it is Mick who will carry out the act of vengeance and bear the consequences, for it was Mick's brother Charlie who suffered a horrible accident , leading to his death, whilst in the care of the priests at their school.

Part of the Storycuts series, this short story was previously published in the collection The Boy Who Taught the Beekeeper to Read.

The Shadows in the Street

Susan Hill

Two local prostitutes are found brutally strangled.

Serrailler is called back urgently from his sabbatical but by the time he reaches Lafferton another girl has vanished.

Then the wife of the Dean at the Cathedral goes missing – has the killer widened their net or is there more than one murderer at large?

The Service Of Clouds

Susan Hill

At the far end of the long white gallery is a painting of a woman, in pale flowing clothes and lying on a sofa beside an open window. The muslin curtains billow out towards her like clouds. There is a touch of brilliant red, the ribbon on her hat. The rest is white, cream, palest grey. It is a painting which leads Flora on, beckoning her away from her childhood, her complaining, clinging mother, pert younger sister, and the confines of a small community, to a proud and self-reliant future. But later, this image is to prove the catalyst for the most signicant event in her life. Isolation, separation, solitude, betrayal. The shocks of life. The consolations and the beauty of death. A few piercing moments of absolute joy and perfect understanding. THE SERVICE OF CLOUDS is about these things, and also about love, loyalty, friendship, growing up and growing old.
Susan Hill

Biography

Susan Hill has been a professional writer for over fifty years. Her books have won awards and prizes including the Whitbread, the John Llewellyn Rhys and the Somerset Maugham; and have been shortlisted for the Booker. She was awarded a CBE in the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Honours. Her novels includeStrange MeetingI’m the King of the Castle and A Kind Man. She has also published autobiographical works and collections of short stories as well as theSimon Serrailler series of crime novels. The play of her ghost story The Woman in Black has been running in London’s West End since 1988. She is married with two adult daughters and lives in North Norfolk.