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Publisher's Summary

With deceptive economy in these nine short stories, Ruth Rendell indicates hidden depths in ordinary events and creates a sense of profound unease. The stories are: 'A Pair of Yellow Lilies', 'Paperwork', 'Mother’s Hel'p, 'Long Live the Queen', 'Dying Happy', 'The Copper Peacock', 'Weeds', 'The Fish-Sitter', and 'An Unwanted Woman'.

©1991 Kingsmarkham Enterprises Ltd (P)2014 Audible, Inc.

What listeners say about The Copper Peacock and Other Stories

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Classic Rendell in little bits

Wonderfully engaging short stories. I'm not sure about the reviews that describe her characters as 'dark' and 'unpleasant' as if that's a bad thing. That underbelly of human existence is Rendell's trademark and she does it so well.
Lovely to see a little Wexford in there. And Keith's narration was exemplary. I only know her from her 'posh' tv characters and was very pleasantly surprised to see that she has brilliant repertoire of some pretty diverse characters.
Very enjoyable, and on the free list!

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Profile Image for Adeliese Baumann
  • Adeliese Baumann
  • 02-02-2013

Nine tales of the unexpected

The underlying theme of these nine stories seems to be what happens in the face of selfishness. The self-absorption that keeps one from seeing what one does not wish to see, or what does not affect one personally, is of central importance.

In "A Pair of Yellow Lilies," the victim of a theft comes into unexpected contact with an irresistible young man in possession of an equally irresistible article of clothing.

A woman looks back on her strange upbringing in the care of her grandmother who is obsessed with scissors, paste, and her "Paperwork."

A dangerous husband with a vulpine smile is the antagonist of "Mother's Help."

"Long Live the Queen" is about a cat lady and her distress at the loss of a prized pet.

"Dying Happy" has an old man in his last days regretting getting what he wished for.

"Weeds" finds us in an English country garden in which a gathering of guests finds something darker and more dangerous going on than the cultivation of herbacious borders.

"The Copper Peacock" introduces us to a self-absorbed author with elitist preconceptions who fancies the daily help.

"The Fish Sitter" is a bizarre story about, not surprisingly, an aquarium.

The final story, "An Unwanted Woman," is an Inspector Wexford mini-mystery centering upon a teenage girl.

For me, there wasn't a disappointment in the lot, and Penelope Keith's narration was a delectable treat.

6 people found this helpful

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  • The Whole Truth
  • 18-09-2017

More please !

What did you love best about The Copper Peacock and Other Stories?

These just suit my taste...interesting, engrossing without taxing one. The narrator is perfect as far as I am concerned in terms of expression, clarity, timing etc.

Any additional comments?

if only there were more ....

2 people found this helpful

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  • Cass
  • 14-09-2021

Good plot

Loved the twists and turns
loved the fact of the short story
Very well read

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  • Linda H.
  • 24-03-2022

A great listen

This really is a brilliant collection of short stories. really enjoyed all of them alot

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  • richard2
  • 08-12-2021

Lacklustre stuff

Aside from a few swift, thought provoking endings, these stories seem very forgettable. Personally, to me Penelope Keith sounds so like a caricature of posh suburban lady (Margot?) that her voice is irritatingly intrusive too.

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Profile Image for Avril
  • Avril
  • 07-11-2021

Clever but very unpleasant

Ruth Rendell has always been a favourite of mine, but be warned, this collection is anything. But happy ending. The characters are mostly extremely unpleasant, nicely read by Penelope Keith.

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