The St. Zita Society: Book summary and reviews of The St. Zita Society by Ruth Rendell

The St. Zita Society

A Novel

by Ruth Rendell

The St. Zita Society
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  • Published in USA  Aug 2012
    272 pages
    Genre: Mysteries

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Book Summary

From three-time Edgar Award–winning mystery writer Ruth Rendell comes a captivating and expertly plotted tale of residents and servants on one block of a posh London street - and the deadly ways their lives intertwine. Life for the residents and servants of Hexam Place appears placid and orderly on the outside: drivers take their employers to and from work, dogs are walked, flowers are planted in gardens, and Christmas candles lit uniformly in windows.

But beneath this tranquil veneer, the upstairs-downstairs relationships are set to combust. Henry, the handsome valet to Lord Studley, is sleeping with both the Lord's wife and his university-age daughter. Montserrat, the Still family's lazy au pair, assists Mrs. Still in keeping secret her illicit affair with a television actor - in exchange for pocket cash. June, the haughty housekeeper to a princess of dubious origin, tries to enlist her fellow house-helpers into a "society" to address complaints about their employers. Meanwhile, Dex, the disturbed gardener to several families on the block, thinks a voice on his cell phone is giving him godlike instructions - commands that could imperil the lives of all those in Hexam Place.

The St. Zita Society is Ruth Rendell at her brilliant best - a deeply observed and suspenseful novel of murder in the quintessentially London world of servants and their masters.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"This novel radiates tension... Britain has changed - in terms of diversity, technology, slang, fashion, and even take-out food - Rendell has maintained an insightful and often satiric commentary about it all." - Publishers Weekly

"Cardboard characters and awkward plotting will limit this one to Rendell's committed readers, of whom there are many." - Booklist

"More thrills from three-time Edgar Award winner Rendell." - Library Journal

"Instead of exhausting the possibilities of her collection of plausible misfits, this group portrait leaves you longing for more." - Kirkus Reviews

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Author Information

Ruth Rendell Author Biography

Ruth Rendell was born February 17, 1930 in Essex, England. During her 50-year writing career she wrote over 60 novels, both under her own name and using her pseudonym, Barbara Vine.

Rendell was credited with bringing a social and psychological dimension to crime fiction, which led to considerable commercial and success and critical praise. Many of her books were were adapted for both movies and television, especially including the Inspector Wexford series.

Rendell was awarded three Edgars for best novel by the Mystery Writers of America, as well as the Grand Master Award. In England, the Crime Writers' Association honored her with two Gold Dagger awards for best novel, a Silver Dagger, and a Diamond Dagger for outstanding contribution to the genre. She lived in London.

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Ruth Rendell: ren-DELL

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