A spectacularly compelling story of blackmail, murders both accidental and opportunistic, and one life’s fateful unravelling from Ruth Rendell, writing at her most acute and mesmerising.
When his father dies, Carl Martin inherits a house in an increasingly rich and trendy London neighbourhood. Carl needs cash, however, so he rents the upstairs room and kitchen to the first person he interviews, Dermot McKinnon. That was colossal mistake number one. Mistake number two was keeping his father’s bizarre collection of homoeopathic “cures” that he found in the medicine cabinet, including a stash of controversial diet pills. Mistake number three was selling fifty of those diet pills to a friend, who is then found dead.
Dermot seizes a nefarious opportunity and begins to blackmail Carl, refusing to pay rent and creepily invading Carl’s space.
Ingeniously weaving together two storylines that finally merge in one shocking turn, Ruth Rendell describes one man’s spiral into darkness - and murder - as he falls victim to a diabolical foe he cannot escape.
In Rendell’s dark and atmospheric tale of psychological suspense, we encounter mistaken identity, kidnap, blackmail, and a cast of characters who are so real that we come to know them better than we know ourselves. Infused with her distinctive blend of wry humour, acute observation and deep humanity, this is Rendell at her most memorable and best.
©2015 Ruth Rendell (P)2015 Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd
"Unequivocally the most brilliant crime writer of our time." (Patricia Cornwell)
"No one surpasses Ruth Rendell when it comes to stories of obsession, instability, and malignant coincidence." (Stephen King)
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"Fascinating study of human behaviour..."
As a confirmed Rendell addict I was very much surprised to find this title which was unknown to me. The story however is in true Rendell style, full of suspense and unexpected twists, the denouement quietly dramatic.
A young man, seemingly with everything going for him, suddenly finds his life is out of his control & things can only get worse.
In this book Rendell demonstrates effectively her extensive understanding of the workings of the human mind, particularly the psychopathic human.
True, one or two incidents seem with hindsight to be unconnected with the story but this did not significantly detract from my enjoyment.
Very well worth listening to but a note of caution. In my opinion, the narrator reads this novel a little too much like a teacher reading to young children and I found this mildly irritating.
Still one not to miss.
This novel, published posthumously in 2015 marked the end of Rendell's rich and insightful writing career, which was a tragedy for me and millions of other loyal fans. Once again, the Queen Of The Psychological Thriller writes about her favourite subjects: psychopaths residing in the gentrified areas of Maida Vale and the entwined lives of a disparate number of people.
I did enjoy it and pretty much raced through the story, playing it out loud whilst completing my chores. The characters were pretty well drawn, well, apart from the antagonist Dermot, who seemed to be taken from Rendell's back catalogue of social misfits.
Ric Jerrom's silkily sardonic narration was as excellent as ever. He really manages to install a sense of Menace with his subtle vocal nuances. Recommended.
Not up to her normal standard. Narrated well but very weak plot. Very unfeasable story
"mediocre un fulfilling stuff"
think of this book like a ready meal
easy tp digest but not very satisfying
certainly needed more seasoning
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