P.D. James and Ruth Rendell

March 21, 2018 at 2:47 pm (Book review, books, Mystery fiction, Short stories)

There is a sense in which I can add nothing to this portrait of two exemplars of excellence in the writing of crime fiction. Nevertheless, I feel the need to try, especially after recently revisiting their works.   P.D. James died in 2014 at the age of 94. This slender volume was published just last […]

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Dark Corners by Ruth Rendell

March 4, 2016 at 2:47 pm (Book review, books, Mystery fiction)

Having just moved into a house in a desirable part of London, Carl Martin is one lucky guy. The house, inherited from his recently deceased father to whom he was not especially close, is spacious enough for Carl to be able to let the top floor to a tenant of his choosing. Dermot McKinnon, he […]

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The Girl Next Door by Ruth Rendell: a book discussion

August 27, 2015 at 1:20 pm (Book clubs, books, Mystery fiction)

  Ever since I first read this novel last winter, I thought it would be a good choice  for a book group. Marge, my “partner in crime” from our days at the library, felt the same. On Sunday, the Literary Ladies proved us right. I’ve already reviewed The Girl Next Door in this space. As […]

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Ruth Rendell

May 3, 2015 at 1:26 pm (Book review, books, Mystery fiction, Remembrance, The British police procedural)

  I didn’t know where to begin. But an article in the Guardian helped. It listed five key works by this author. They are as follows: 1. From Doon with Death (1964). Ruth Rendell’s first published novel. In it, she introduces her policeman protagonist  Reginald Wexford. 2. A Judgement in Stone (1977). A standalone containing […]

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The Girl Next Door: Ruth Rendell at the summit of her powers

January 6, 2015 at 3:25 pm (Book review, books, Mystery fiction)

I was waiting for something – anything! – to fire me up again, in service to  Books to the Ceiling. This did it: In the waning years of World War Two, a group of children discover a series of tunnels near their neighborhood. Originally intended as part of a new housing development, they lay abandoned […]

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The Child’s Child, by Ruth Rendell, writing as Barbara Vine

January 6, 2013 at 3:14 am (Book review, books, Mystery fiction)

  Over the years,  my devotion to the works of Ruth Rendell has steadily increased. She is one of the few writers who never disappoint – or, almost never…. Perhaps “disappointed” is not the right term to describe my feelings about The Child’s Child. Certain aspects of  the novel were very impressive. Rendell plunges fearlessly […]

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The Vault: Ruth Rendell’s sequel to A Sight for Sore Eyes

November 23, 2011 at 1:32 pm (Book review, books, Mystery fiction, The British police procedural)

  A Sight for Sore Eyes came out in 1999. It is a novel of psychological suspense, not a police procedural – Reg Wexford does not appear in the narrative. Sight features one of the most genuinely frightening characters I’ve ever encountered in a work of fiction. In the more than ten years since I […]

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A Ruth Rendell retrospective, Part One

October 7, 2011 at 2:02 am (Book clubs, books, Mystery fiction, The British police procedural)

My first thought upon arriving home after the Tuesday night meeting of the Usual Suspects was, I’m exhausted. My second thought, upon waking up the following morning at five AM with a splitting headache was, I’ve had a bracing lesson in humility! In all honesty, it’s a lesson I needed to get. Assuming that everyone […]

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A luminous tale of love, illusion, and despair: Tigerlily’s Orchids, by Ruth Rendell

August 11, 2011 at 8:45 pm (Book review, books, Mystery fiction)

  Stuart Font can’t help admiring himself in every mirror he encounters. He’s good looking, to be sure. But he’s not very bright, and what’s worse, his narcissism exists along side a complete lack of either ambition or imagination. Add to all this a tendency to take the coward’s way out of tough situations and […]

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Portobello by Ruth Rendell, with an admittedly subjective meditation on this author’s peculiar genius

November 8, 2010 at 2:16 am (Book review, books, Mystery fiction)

A physician and an art gallery owner fall in love. A small time hood nurtures big time dreams. A young man pulled back from the brink of death nurses an increasingly bizarre delusion. What can these four people possibly have in common? They all live in the London neighborhood of Notting Hill. Also found in […]

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