When Simon Serrailler was a rookie constable with the Met, he did something reckless in the course of a night's work which caused a man's death. But his act was praised by his colleagues, and he was called a hero.
Years later, now a detective chief superintendent who has been badly injured in the course of duty, he receives a medal for bravery at Buckingham Palace while recollecting that fateful night of his early career, when chance disguised itself as bravery.
Susan Hill has won the Whitbread, Somerset Maugham and John Llewelyn Rhys prizes and been shortlisted for the Booker Prize. She has written 55 books in several genres, including ghost stories. The play of The Woman in Black is still running in London's West End after 25 years. I'm the King of the Castle has been a GCSE set text. She has also published collections of short stories, fiction for children, several nonfiction books and the highly successful crime novel series about the detective Simon Serrailler, who features in this short story.
Her new novel, The Soul of Discretion, published by Chatto & Windus, is the final title in the Serrailler series. Susan Hill is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and a Fellow of King's College, London, and was awarded a CBE in the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Honours of 2012.