In A Demon in My View, Ruth Rendell creates a character as frightening as he is fascinating. Mild-mannered Arthur Johnson has never known how to talk to women. And his loneliness has perverted his desire for love and respect into a carefully controlled penchant for violence. One floor below him, a scholar finishing his thesis on psychopathic personalities is about to stumble—quite literally—upon one of Arthur's many secrets.
Haunting and intelligent, A Demon in My View shows the startling results of this chilling alchemy of two very disparate minds—one pathological and the other obsessed with pathology.
Dazzling psychological suspense. Razor-sharp dialogue. Plots that catch and hold like a noose. These are the hallmarks of crime legend Ruth Rendell, “the best mystery writer in the English-speaking world” ( magazine). , now in a striking new paperback edition, is her classic debut novel -- and the book that introduced one of the most popular sleuths of the twentieth century.
There is nothing extraordinary about Margaret Parsons, a timid housewife in the quiet town of Kingsmarkham, a woman devoted to her garden, her kitchen, her husband. Except that Margaret Parsons is dead, brutally strangled, her body abandoned in the nearby woods.
Who would kill someone with nothing to hide? Inspector Wexford, the formidable chief of police, feels baffled -- until he discovers Margaret's dark secret: a trove of rare books, each volume breathlessly inscribed by a passionate lover identified only as Doon. As Wexford delves deeper into both Mrs. Parsons’ past and the wary community circling round her memory like wolves, the case builds with relentless momentum to a surprise finale as clever as it is blindsiding.
In , Ruth Rendell instantly mastered the form that would become synonymous with her name. Chilling, richly characterized, and ingeniously constructed, this is psychological suspense at its very finest.
“One of the most remarkable novelists of her generation.” —
“She has transcended her genre by her remarkable imaginative power to explore and illuminate the dark corners of the human psyche.” —P.D. James
About the Book
‘For Woody, anger was cold. Cold and slow. But once it had started it mounted gradually and he could think of nothing else. He knew he couldn’t stay alive while those two were alive. Instead of sleeping, he lay awake in the dark and saw those hands. Anita’s narrow white hand with the long nails painted pastel pink, the man’s brown hand equally shapely, the fingers slightly splayed.’
Before the advent of the Second World War, beneath the green meadows of Loughton, Essex, a dark network of tunnels has been dug. A group of children discover them. They play there. It becomes their secret place.
Seventy years on, the world has changed. Developers have altered the rural landscape. Friends from a half-remembered world have married, died, grown sick, moved on or disappeared.
Work on a new house called Warlock uncovers a grisly secret, buried a lifetime ago, and a weary detective, more preoccupied with current crimes, must investigate a possible case of murder.
In all her novels, Ruth Rendell digs deep beneath the surface to investigate the secrets of the human psyche. The interconnecting tunnels of Loughton in THE GIRL NEXT DOOR lead to no single destination. But the relationships formed there, the incidents that occurred, exert a profound influence – not only on the survivors but in unearthing the true nature of the mysterious past.
About the Author
Ruth Rendell is crime fiction at its very best. Her first novel, , appeared in 1964, and since then her reputation and readership have grown steadily with each new book.
In 1996 she was awarded the CBE and in 1997 became a Life Peer. In 2013 she was awarded the Crime Writers’ Association Cartier Diamond Dagger for sustained excellence in crime writing.
Her books are translated into 21 languages.
From award-winning author Ruth Rendell – 'without a doubt the grand dame of British crime fiction,' (The Gazette) – comes the chilling new Inspector Wexford novel.
Searching for truffles in a wood, a man and his dog unearth something less savoury-a human hand. The body, as Chief Inspector Wexford is informed later, has lain buried for ten years or so, wrapped in a purple cotton shroud. The post mortem cannot reveal the precise cause of death. The only clue is a crack in one of the dead man's ribs.
Although the police database covers a relatively short period of time, it stores a long list of Missing Persons. Men, women and children disappear at an alarming rate-hundreds every day. So Wexford knows he is going to have a job on his hands to identify the corpse. And then, only about twenty yards away from the woodland burial site, in the cellar of a disused cottage, another body is discovered.
The detection skills of Wexford, Burden, and the other investigating officers of the Kingsmarkham Police Force, are tested to the utmost to see if the murders are connected and to track down whoever is responsible.
A Detective Chief Inspector Wexford novel. The fatal car accident involving the stockbroker Fanshawe couldn't possibly be connected with the murder of a cocky little lorry driver. But was it a coincidence that the latter died the day after Mrs Fanshawe regained consciousness?
A classic Rendellian loner, Mix Cellini is superstitious about the number 13. Living in a decaying house in Notting Hill, Mix is obsessed with 10 Rillington Place, where the notorious John Christie committed a series of foul murders. He is also infatuated with a beautiful model who lives nearby – a woman who would not look at him twice. Mix's landlady, Gwedolen Chawcer is equally reclusive – living her life through her library of books. Both landlady and lodger inhabit weird worlds of their own. But when reality intrudes into Mix's life, a long pent-up violence explodes.
The Portobello area of West London has a rich personality – vibrant, brilliant in colour, noisy, with graffiti that approach art, bizarre and splendid. An indefinable edge to it adds a spice of danger. There is nothing safe about Portobello…
Eugene Wren inherited an art gallery from his father near an arcade that now sells cashmere, handmade soaps and children's clothes. But he decided to move to a more upmarket site in Kensington Church Street. Eugene was fifty, with prematurely white hair. He was, perhaps, too secretive for his own good. He also had an addictive personality. But he had cut back radically on his alcohol consumption and had given up cigarettes. Which was just as well, considering he was going out with a doctor. For all his good intentions, though, there was something he didn't want her to know about…
On a shopping trip one day, Eugene, quite by chance, came across an envelope containing money. He picked it up. For some reason, rather than report the matter to the police, he wrote a note and stuck it up on lamppost near his house:
'Found in Chepstow Villas, a sum of money between eighty and a hundred and sixty pounds. Anyone who has lost such a sum should apply to the phone number below.'
This note would link the lives of a number of very different people – each with their obsessions, problems, dreams and despairs. And through it all the hectic life of Portobello would bustle on.
This latest gem from the British master concerns the wreckage wrought on a variety of Londoners by a womanizing con man who speaks in rhymes. Here, as in A Sight for Sore Eyes (1999), Rendell’s genius is to create characters so vivid they live beyond the frame of the novel. She pushes the ordinary to the point of the bizarre while remaining consistently believable. Araminta “Minty” Knox, the fragile center of the plot, is a 30-something woman, alone and obsessed with hygiene, who works in a dry-cleaning shop. All the world is a petri dish for Minty, who sees germs everywhere, which she attacks with Wright’s Coal Tar Soap. She is equally tormented by the ghosts she imagines, her domineering “Auntie” and the man who took her virginity. Other characters hover on the borderline between transformation and disaster. Tory MP “Jims” Melcombe-Smith, in bed politically with the “family values” crowd, is simultaneously courting a gay lover. Working-class Zillah Leach, bored with her small children and smaller bank account, schemes to marry up, even at the risk of committing bigamy. This is not a whodunit in the sense of Rendell’s Inspector Wexford novels, but a study of crime’s origins and especially its consequences as they ripple out beyond the immediate victims. The plot is intricate but brisk, and Rendell nails her characters’ psychology in all its perverse logic. She has a travel writer’s sensitivity to setting, to the architecture, cemeteries, birds and vegetation of contemporary Britain. This is a literary page-turner, both elegant and accessible.