Regular price: $47.19

Membership details Membership details
  • A 30-day trial plus your first audiobook, free
  • 1 credit/month after trial – good for any book, any price
  • Easy exchanges – love a book or swap it for free
  • Keep your audiobooks, even if you cancel
  • After your trial, Audible is just $16.45/month
OR
In Basket

Publisher's Summary

In the waning months of the Second World War, a group of children discover an earthen tunnel in their neighbourhood outside London. Throughout the summer of 1944 - until one father forbids it - the subterranean space becomes their 'secret garden', where the friends play games and tell stories.

Six decades later, beneath a house on the same land, construction workers uncover a tin box containing two skeletal hands, one male and one female. As the discovery makes national news, the friends come together once again, to recall their days in the tunnel for the detective investigating the case. Is the truth buried among these aging friends and their memories?

This impromptu reunion causes long-simmering feelings to bubble to the surface. Alan, stuck in a passionless marriage, begins flirting with Daphne, a glamorous widow. Michael considers contacting his estranged father, who sent Michael to live with an aunt after his mother vanished in 1944. Lewis begins remembering details about his Uncle James, an army private who once accompanied the children into the tunnels, and who later disappeared.

In The Girl Next Door Rendell brilliantly shatters the assumptions about age, showing that the choices people make - and the emotions behind them - remain as potent in late life as they were in youth.

©2014 Ruth Rendell (P)2014 Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd

Critic Reviews

"Ruth Rendell is unequivocally the most brilliant mystery writer of our time. She magnificently triumphs in a style that is uniquely hers." (Patricia Cornwell)
"Probably the greatest living crime writer in the world." (Ian Rankin)
"Ruth Rendell has raised the game of the crime novel in this country through the sheer quality of her writing." (Peter James, International bestselling crime thriller novelist)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    3
  • 4 Stars
    4
  • 3 Stars
    2
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    1

Performance

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    3
  • 4 Stars
    4
  • 3 Stars
    2
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0

Story

  • 3.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    2
  • 4 Stars
    4
  • 3 Stars
    1
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    1
Sort by:
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

A slow burner

The peaks and troughs of this book intrigued me. Many aspects for older lively people rang true for me especially in the baby boomer era. Enjoyed this book, I can always tell if it has captured my attention if I sit in the car out the front of the house waiting for the chapter to finish.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Captivating read

I thoroughly enjoyed being taken into the lives of these people and hearing the mystery of the hands. Very well written and narrated

Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Kirstine
  • 29-08-2014

More about relationships than a crime novel

As with many of Ruth Rendells’s non-Inspector Wexford novels this book hardly qualifies as a crime/detective story. A crime is committed, and we know from the start who did it, but it isn’t the core of the book. The author creates superficially ordinary people who are actually rather odd and do surprising things. It’s the exploration of the psychology behind their actions that is interesting and keeps one reading/listening.

The narrative switches between the last years of the second World War and the present day and follows the lives and loves of a group a people, who met as children in the Essex town of Loughton, and who are all associated in some way with the people or events surrounding the crime. A crime that was only discovered in modern times and the revelation of which brings the now elderly children back together with life-changing consequences.

I enjoyed the book though I see from Amazon reviews that it has divided readers/listeners. Maybe it appeals to older people who can empathize more easily with the characters.

The narrator is excellent.

13 of 14 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Susan Random
  • 02-08-2015

Older People And Their Stories

Although this Rendell novel begins with a murder, it acts as a plot device to reunite a group of older people who played in the tunnels located in Loughton, near London during the Second World War. The Batchelor brothers and their respective wives, retired solicitor, Michael Winwood, whose nearly childhood was blighted by danger and neglect and his former next-door-neighbour, Daphne Furness, nee Jones. All of the friends have now scattered throughout London, but the discovery of a pair of entertwined hands in a biscuit tin in the tunnels during the present day have repercussions for all of the group.

The book was extremely compelling and was a great choice to take on holiday. Ric Jerrom was an excellent narrator with a deep, expressive and slightly laconic manner. My only issue is with an aspect of the plot is the unsavoury past incident towards the end. That said, it doesn’t really detract from the quality of the writing.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Angela
  • 14-01-2015

Daphne

Found characters bit difficult to follow. Not to sure about story line. Weaved a bit to much back and forth in time before getting to the real base of the story. But still enjoyed it.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Alan
  • 21-08-2014

Very disappointing

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

A much better story, better character development and less stereotypes

What was most disappointing about Ruth Rendell’s story?

No excitement or surprises, it plodded along and was old fashioned and bland

What didn’t you like about Ric Jerrom’s performance?

Did the best possible with the material

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Boredom and disappointment. Hard to believe Ruth Rendell was the author

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Kay Fisher
  • 03-10-2014

Lacking the Rendall magic

This is a novel about getting older, or at least Ruth Rendell's take on getting older. I spent a lot of time wondering how she reached the conclusions and opinions she voiced through her characters because they sounded so dated. The narration didn't help as Ric Jerrom has a very irritating style which grates. On the whole, rather disappointing.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Anne
  • 03-09-2014

Waste of a credit

If this book wasn’t for you, who do you think might enjoy it more?

I'm not sure who would enjoy this book

What was most disappointing about Ruth Rendell’s story?

There is no intrigue or plot, boring book

Did the narration match the pace of the story?

The narration was excellent given the poor material they had to work with

What character would you cut from The Girl Next Door?

Most of them

Any additional comments?

The story is told in the first couple of paragraphs

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Cressida59
  • 30-09-2017

Tedious at beginning

Rather tiedious n the first few chapters but improved later on. Very well read by Rid Jerrom

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Maryb
  • 05-10-2016

A surprising book from Ruth Rendell.

Ric Jerrom is an excellent reader with many accents. He held my attention when parts of the story became a bit overlong. Surprising ending!

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Lady Jay
  • 06-05-2016

really tried to get in to this

but could not just not the sort of book you can have on and relax too . just thinking about who he talking about and have to go back over what just happened .

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Flint
  • 03-09-2015

Probably not worth the effort

The story dragged, there were too many characters and it got a bit confusing. I didn't like the ending, too many loose ends tied up, the conclusion seemed like a big let down. I wouldn't listen to it again. The narrator wasn't too bad, fairly easy to listen to.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful