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I had never particularly aspired to read Ruth Rendell, but acquired this by mistake from a BookMoocher who had meant to send me an Ian Rankin. It is a gripping and somewhat grim read, of a lonely old woman and her obsessive lodger; he kills his Bosnian girlfriend, and hides her body under the floorboards. It's a crime novel rather than a mystery novel, since we know what the murderer has done and why he has done it all the way through; the police barely feature in the story. The other main character in the book apart from the murderer and his landlady is the city of London in the Noughties; socially and ethnically mixed, but on edge and easily fractured. There are a lot of memorable minor characters as well - the model who the killer is obsessed with, the landlady's long lost love, the fortune-teller who the victim worked for, even the Iraqi refugee who emerges rather abruptly in the final pages. If Rendell's other books are this good I shall start looking out for them.

Top LibraryThing Unsuggestion: rather surprisingly, Smoke and Mirrors by Neil Gaiman, followed by a whole lot of Pratchett, Gaiman and Robert Jordan. Shows a sharp divide between crime writing fans and sf fans - certainly the latter would have no reason not to enjoy this, and I'd have rated Smoke and Mirrors as one of Gaiman's more accessible books for the reader who doesn't usually buy sf. Also shows that LibraryThing haven't updated the Unsuggestion database since before I accidentally acquired this book.


( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 16th, 2010 05:07 pm (UTC)
I haven't read much of hers, but this sounds like a good one to look out for, given that I've got on quite well with what I have read. One I particularly enjoyed reading - although it's grim! - was Lake of Darkness.
Jan. 16th, 2010 06:32 pm (UTC)
Can't say I've ever had the burning desire to read Ruth Rendell either, but I might grab one on a trip to the library.

I have read one of the books she published as Barbara Vine after I heard about it on Radio 4. I did enjoy it, but not enough to rush out and find the rest.
Jan. 17th, 2010 12:10 am (UTC)
Hey, I have that one on the way from Bookmooch myself -- good to know it's a good one, since as papersky says, they vary. I've found that I tend to like her books written as Barbara Vine the best.
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )

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