Beauty, infatuation, jealousy, generosity, and betrayal collide in Ruth Rendell / Barbara Vine's novel of murder remembered.
By Ruth Rendell First published: UK, Hutchinson, 2011 The "vault" is what Wexford (now retired) calls the cellar of Orcadia Cottage, where four skeletons are found. At the end of A Sight for Sore Eyes, there were three bodies down there. We know whose they were. What, then, is the fourth corpse doing down there? Wexford, armed with … Continue reading The Vault (Ruth Rendell)
By Ruth Rendell First published: UK, Profile, 2017 Hauntings, possession, and Aztec sacrifice - plus the more standard murder, deceit, and deception - are here in the last collection of Ruth Rendell's short stories. Rendell was one of the all-time great mystery short story writers; hell, I'd even drop "mystery". They're neat, deftly constructed, and perfectly … Continue reading A Spot of Folly (Ruth Rendell)
By Ruth Rendell First published: UK, Hutchinson, 2006; US, Crown The Water's Lovely is romantic comedy, Rendell-style. Middle-class Londoners look for love, get married, and lose partners. It's like a Richard Curtis film, only with a drowned body in a bathtub, and a little rape. Heather probably murdered her stepfather at the age of 13; her … Continue reading The Water’s Lovely (Ruth Rendell)
By Ruth Rendell First published: UK, Hutchinson, 1998; US, Crown They fuck you up, your mum and dad.They may not mean to, but they do.They fill you with the faults they hadAnd add some extra, just for you. - Philip Larkin Working-class Teddy Brex's parents neglect him – and produce a psychopath, who prefers objects to people. … Continue reading A Sight for Sore Eyes (Ruth Rendell)
By Ruth Rendell First published: UK, Hutchinson, 1984; US, Pantheon Books This is a bad case of magical thinking. "The winter before he was sixteen, Pup sold his soul to the devil." That's leaving it rather late; I was already seven when I lit guttering candles, did unspeakable things to a goat, and delivered up … Continue reading The Killing Doll (Ruth Rendell)
By Ruth Rendell First published: UK, John Long, 1964 Source: Facsimile Dust Jackets LLC This is Rendell's first – and it’s a dreary story, with a not-quite-clever -enough twist. Rendell''s interest really lies in the human situation, rather than the detection (which is routine and unfair). The crime is as featureless and uninteresting as you can find. … Continue reading From Doon with Death (Ruth Rendell)
From Sherlock Holmes to WWI The modern detective story is generally considered to have begun in 1887, when the immortal Sherlock Holmes appeared in A Study in Scarlet. The work wasn't a success, but the long series of short stories, beginning in 1891 with "A Scandal in Bohemia", made Holmes, and his creator, Arthur Conan … Continue reading Detective fiction: A brief overview