Jock Lewis was supposed to have died in that terrible train crash at Paddington. Minty, his girlfriend, received a letter from Great Western telling her so. But, curiously, the police haven't been in touch. And Jock has borrowed all her savings . . .
Zillah also got a letter from the railway company, informing her that her husband, Jerry Leach, was dead. Something about the letter struck her as suspicious, but she chooses not to mention her doubts to the up-and-coming Conservative Member of Parliament who has just proposed a marriage of convenience . . .
Fiona, a successful banker, met Jeff Leigh before the Paddington crash in August. Although he never seemed to have a job, and borrowed money from her, she is utterly devoted to himand can't understand why he suddenly has disappeared . . .
As this novel gets under way, it is not immediately apparent how the lives of these women might be connected, or how they may figure into a series of vicious stabbing deaths that have shocked and terrified the citizens of London. With consummate skill, Ruth Rendell pulls the colorful strands of this harrowing story ever tighter, increasing the tension page by page.
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.
Booklist - Connie Fletcher
Rendell's great accomplishment here--what separates the novel from the usual stuff of whodunits--is the way she dramatizes the ripple effect of murder, the process through which individuals' lives can be altered or destroyed by the murder of someone either almost or completely unknown to them. Rendell's characters are fully drawn, and we become completely caught up in their struggles. Madly absorbing.
Library Journal - Caroline Mann, Univ. of Portland Lib., OR
Combining humor with painstaking character detail, Rendell offers her readers another mesmerizing psychological mystery.
Ruth Rendell is one of the greatest novelists presently at work in our language.
Rendell is not only irresistible because of the brilliance of her descriptions of contemporary life and the sad truth of her characters. She is a great storyteller who knows how to make sure that the reader has to turn the pages out of a desperate need to find out what is going to happen next.
It is not only her rate of productivity which is startling. It is also her ability . . . to tap into registers of feeling which range from the commonplace to the psychopathic. She is to be treasured.
Those who haven't read Ruth Rendell have missed something unique and wonderful.
Ruth Rendell is, unequivocally, the most brilliant mystery novelist of our times. Her stories are a lesson in a human nature as capable of the most exotic love as it is of the cruelest murder. She does not avert her gaze and magnificently triumphs in a style that is uniquely hers and mesmerizing.
Recent Reader Reviews
Rated of 5
by lezli-ann stringer
i put a 3 because im just starting this book and i think that i will get better as i go along in the story and i think that u should make 1,2,3,4,5, books of them
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