A collection of psychological murder mysteries featuring the world-famous Detective Chief Inspector Wexford.
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. Her final novel, Dark Corners, is scheduled for publication in October 2015
This collection of contemporary, subtle, and sometimes horrific stories by that most cerebral of English mystery writers, Rendell (e.g., Put On by Cunning, LJ 6/1/96), is a listener's delight. A cast of readers including Michael Page and Sharon Williams represent a chorus of perfect voices performing the various tales, which range from country working-class acts of passion to restrained, clinical murder among calculating members of Britain's upper crust. One story, "Unacceptable Levels," is so subtle that listeners may find themselves rewinding their cassettes in order to catch the unspoken murder plot. Another, "The Strawberry Tree," is beautiful in its pacing, as slow and embracing as a Majorcan breeze from the island upon which the story is set. The Rendell style has never been more affecting than here. Recommended.‘Mark P. Tierney, The World Bank, Washington, D.C.
This riveting group of stories puts the reader into familiar Rendell territory; not just the burgeoning villages of Kingsmarkham and Stowerton that Chief Constable Wexford and his assistant, Mike Burden, call their own, but the territory of the mind. Psychological twists evolve from characters who range from the mildly eccentric ("In All Honesty") to the truly mad ("Shreds and Slivers"). Rendell's deft touch and keen insight (and sometimes wry wit) can wring abject horror from even the smallest vignette. The compulsive shopper of "Clothes" experiences a total emotional collapse. In "Unacceptable Levels," is the caring young woman really trying to kill her lover? The longer title story brings back the uxorious Wexford and the grimly judgmental Burden who solve a bludgeoning death in their usual manner: dogged police work rewarded with a flash of insight. The true gem of the collection is "The Strawberry Tree," a chilling tale filled with foreboding and graced by a final, unexpected redemption. These finely constructed and intense stories will serve Rendell's fans, accustomed to her substantial volumes like last year's Simisola, as a tasty appetizer, heightening their anticipation of the heartier fare to come in her next novel. (June)
The words dropped, very precisely, like pebbles into a pool. They
spread ripples of menace and foreboding . . . Ruth Rendell hasd the
extraordinary faculty of summing up life in a single phraseor
sentence . . . A mesmeric collection * Daily Telegraph *
Disturbing, atmospheric, inventive and surprising . . . Rendell's capacity to enter the souls of the emotionally bruised is a marvel * The Times *
Rendell's consistent talent for creating plot, combined with her uncanny grasp of contemporary experience, makes this a winning volume * Mail on Sunday *
Wonderful at exploring the dark corners of the human mind, and the way private fantasies can clash and explode into terrifying violence * Daily Mail *
Chief Inspector Wexford is Rendell's most enduring and best creation * Daily Telegraph *