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Ruth Rendell was an exceptional crime writer, and will be remembered as a legend in her own lifetime. Her groundbreaking debut novel, From Doon With Death, was first published in 1964 and introduced the reader to her enduring and popular detective, Inspector Reginald Wexford, who went on to feature in twenty-four of her subsequent novels.
With worldwide sales of approximately 20 million copies, Rendell was a regular Sunday Times bestseller. Her sixty bestselling novels include police procedurals, some of which have been successfully adapted for TV, stand-alone psychological mysteries, and a third strand of crime novels under the pseudonym Barbara Vine. Very much abreast of her times, the Wexford books in particular often engaged with social or political issues close to her heart.
Rendell won numerous awards, including the Crime Writers’ Association Gold Dagger for 1976’s best crime novel with A Demon in My View, a Gold Dagger award for Live Flesh in 1986, and the Sunday Times Literary Award in 1990. In 2013 she was awarded the Crime Writers’ Association Cartier Diamond Dagger for sustained excellence in crime writing. In 1996 she was awarded the CBE and in 1997 became a Life Peer.
Ruth Rendell died in May 2015. Dark Corners is her final novel.
This collection includes: The Bridesmaid: A beautiful stone statue and her living double lead Philip into a nightmare of obsession and murder. Going Wrong: Besotted with his childhood sweetheart, Leonora, psychopathic Guy Curran will do anything to make her his. King Solomon’s Carpet: London’s Underground links a group of misfit housemates and is the catalyst for a devastating crime in this compelling tale, written under the pseudonym Barbara Vine. People Don’t Do Such Things: A suburban couple befriend a charismatic novelist, but their relationship soon slips into sinister territory. The Fever Tree: On safari in South Africa, Ford and Tricia find the tensions in their marriage exacerbated by the unforgiving wilderness. The Dreadful Day of Judgment: Clearing up an abandoned cemetery, John, Gilly and Marlon’s personal demons come to the fore. Thornapple: Poison enthusiast James becomes captivated by the ruthless Meribel on a visit to her wealthy aunt. Among the casts of these seven suspenseful adaptations are Jamie Glover, Mark Strong, Reece Shearsmith, Paul Rhys, Danny Sapani and Juliet Aubrey.
One of our Books of the Year 2015. A stand-alone thriller, insightful and with wry humour, it portrays the psychological downward spiral of the main character, budding author Carl, as a result of his actions and then “non” actions. A simple act has devastating consequences and Carl is open to blackmail. Scattered about the periphery of the central plot are several sub plots, some could easily have been more fleshed out and most have only tenuous connections to each other. This is the author’s last novel so it is perhaps a shame that it is not one of her best. But a new Ruth Rendell is always a treat and so I repeat it is just such a shame this is the last. ~ Sarah Broadhurst
The dazzling new novel from Ruth Rendell. When the bones of two severed hands are discovered in a box, an investigation into a long buried crime of passion begins. And a group of friends, who played together as children, begin to question their past. 'For Woody, anger was cold. Cold and slow. But once it had started it mounted gradually and he could think of nothing else. He knew he couldn't stay alive while those two were alive. Instead of sleeping, he lay awake in the dark and saw those hands. Anita's narrow white hand with the long nails painted pastel pink, the man's brown hand equally shapely, the fingers slightly splayed.' Before the advent of the Second World War, beneath the green meadows of Loughton, Essex, a dark network of tunnels has been dug. A group of children discover them. They play there. It becomes their secret place. Seventy years on, the world has changed. Developers have altered the rural landscape. Friends from a half-remembered world have married, died, grown sick, moved on or disappeared. Work on a new house called Warlock uncovers a grisly secret, buried a lifetime ago, and a weary detective, more preoccupied with current crimes, must investigate a possible case of murder. In all her novels, Ruth Rendell digs deep beneath the surface to investigate the secrets of the human psyche. The interconnecting tunnels of Loughton in The Girl Next Door lead to no single destination. But the relationships formed there, and the incidents that occurred, exert a profound influence - not only on the survivors but in unearthing the true nature of the mysterious past.
A dark, sad, slightly depressing tale of old age. We start in the late thirties when the crime was committed (so this is no whodunit) and then leap to the present where a group of children, who used to play together, are now all in their seventies and eighties and mostly miserable. The connection between now and the original crime is really not the point of this tale. It is more about the psychological nature and interconnection of the group. All very pensive.
No Man's Nightingale: the eagerly anticipated twenty-fourth title in Ruth Rendell's bestselling Detective Chief Inspector Wexford series. The woman vicar of St Peter's Church may not be popular among the community of Kingsmarkham. But it still comes as a profound shock when she is found strangled in her vicarage. Inspector Wexford is retired, but he retains a relish for solving mysteries especially when they are as close to home as this one is. So when he's asked whether he will assist on the case, he readily agrees. By why did the vicar die? And is anyone else in Kingsmarkham in danger? What Wexford doesn't know is that the killer is far closer than he, or anyone else, thinks.
A 50th anniversary edition of the first Inspector Wexford novel, with an introduction by Ian Rankin and a new afterword by Ruth Rendell. An ordinary life. An extraordinary death. The trampled grass led to the body of Margaret Parsons. With no useful clues and a victim known only for her mundane life, Chief Inspector Wexford is baffled until he discovers Margaret's dark secret - a collection of rare books, each inscribed from a secret lover and signed only as 'Doon'. Who is Doon? And could the answer hold the key to Wexford solving his first case?
The 24th Wexford whodunit has him coming out of retirement at the request of his old colleague Mike Burden (but unpaid) to investigate the murder of a mix-race female vicar – lots of expected prejudice there then! Ruth Rendell’s last couple of Wexford tales have not been up to her usual standard but this is more like her old style so Wexford fans rejoice, even if he does go on a bit about his ‘unofficial role’.
'Someone had told Dex that the Queen lived in Victoria. So did he, but she had a palace and he had one room in a street off Warwick Way. Still he liked the idea that she was his neighbour.' Dex works as a gardener for Dr Jefferson at his home on Hexam Place in Pimlico: an exclusive street of white-painted stucco Georgian houses inhabited by the rich, and serviced by the not so rich. The hired help, a motley assortment of au pairs, drivers and cleaners, decide to form the St Zita Society (Zita was the patron saint of domestic servants) as an excuse to meet at the local pub and air their grievances. When Dex is invited to attend one of these meetings, the others find that he is a strange man, seemingly ill at ease with human beings. These first impressions are compounded when they discover he has recently been released from a hospital for the criminally insane, where he was incarcerated for attempting to kill his own mother. Dex's most meaningful relationship seems to be with his mobile phone service provider, Peach, and he interprets the text notifications and messages he receives from the company as a reassuring sign that there is some kind of god who will protect him. And give him instructions about ridding the world of evil spirits...Accidental death and pathological madness cohabit above and below stairs in Hexam Place.
When Stuart Font decides to throw a house-warming party in his new flat, he invites all the people in his building. After some deliberation, he even includes the unpleasant caretaker and his wife. There are a few other genuine friends on the list, but he definitely does not want to include his girlfriend, Claudia, as that might involve asking her husband. The party will be one everyone remembers. But not for the right reasons. All the occupants of Lichfield House are about to experience a dramatic change in their lives...Living opposite, in reclusive isolation, is a young, beautiful Asian woman, christened Tigerlily by Stuart. As though from some strange urban fairytale, she emerges to exert a terrible spell. And Mr and Mrs Font, the worried parents, will have even more cause for concern about their handsome but hopelessly naive son.
This is an unabridged audiobook title. We are big fans of Ruth Rendell and once again she has supplied the goods with this mysterious and curious tale about a mysterious and curious young woman who appears to cast a magic spell......
CWA Hall of Fame Dagger 2009. Inspector Wexford returns and so does an old adversary giving Wexford the chance to reflect on times past, including the beginnings of his relationship with his wife so this is a must for all fans.
A Chief Inspector Wexford mystery which throws more light on his own philosophy and family relationships as he investigates a particularly tricky crime. It’s a good one.Similar this month: Natasha Cooper, Minette Walters.Comparison: Peter Robinson, Peter James (crime ones), Elizabeth George.
A Chief Inspector Wexford mystery which says it all for really I should say as little as possible so as not to spoil the surprises. It centres on parenthood in all its guises; sensitive, touching, sad and wonderfully full of red herrings, it’s thrilling from start to finish, a classic whodunnit.Comparison: Frances Fyfield, Elizabeth George, Peter Robinson.Similar this month: P D James, Ann Granger.
One of her dark, suspenseful, psychological crime novels where circumstances and paranoia play important parts and the main characters are all a bit strange. It is eerie stuff.Comparison: Nicci French, Minette Walters, P D James.Similar this month: Lynda La Plante, Karin Fossum
October 2013 Guest Editor Linwood Barclay on Judgement in Stone by Ruth Rendell... This might just be the most daring crime novel ever written. In the first thirteen words, Rendell tells you who was murdered, who did it, and why. Well, why continue? Because those thirteen words set out a scenario so incredible, so hard to comprehend, you simply have to read on. Sheer genius.
New and uncollected tales of murder, mischief, magic and madness. Ruth Rendell was an acknowledged master of psychological suspense: these are ten (and a quarter) of her most chillingly compelling short stories, collected here together for the first time. In these tales, a businessman boasts about cheating on his wife, only to find the tables turned. A beautiful country rectory reverberates to the echo of a historical murder. A compulsive liar acts on impulse, only to be lead inexorably to disaster. And a wealthy man finds there is more to his wife's kidnapping than meets the eye. Atmospheric, gripping and never predictable, this is Ruth Rendell at her inimitable best. The stories are: Never Sleep in a Bed Facing a Mirror; A Spot of Folly; The Price of Joy; The Irony of Hate; Digby's Wives; The Haunting of Shawley Rectory; A Drop Too Much; The Thief; The Long Corridor of Time; In the Time of his Prosperity; and Trebuchet. Introduction from Sophie Hannah.