Summary and book reviews of Adam and Eve and Pinch Me by Ruth Rendell

Adam and Eve and Pinch Me

by Ruth Rendell

Adam and Eve and Pinch Me
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  • First Published:
    Feb 2002, 384 pages
    Paperback:
    Jan 2003, 368 pages

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About this Book

Book Summary

With consummate skill, Ruth Rendell pulls the colorful strands of this harrowing story ever tighter, increasing the tension page by page.

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 him—and 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.

Chapter 1

Minty knew it was a ghost sitting in the chair because she was frightened. If it were only something she'd imagined, she wouldn't have been afraid. You couldn't be when it was something that came out of your own mind.

It was early evening but, being wintertime, quite dark. She'd just come home from work, let herself in the front door, and put the hall light on. The front-room door was open and the ghost was sitting on an upright chair in the middle of the room with its back to her. She'd put the chair there to stand on and change a lightbulb before she went out in the morning and forgotten to put it back. Her mouth tightly covered up with both hands to keep the scream in, she took one step nearer. She thought, What will I do if it turns round? Ghosts in stories are gray like the people on black-and-white television or else see-through, but this one had short, dark brown hair and a brown neck, and wore a black leather jacket. Minty didn't have to ...

Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!
  1. Adam and Eve and Pinch Me could be described as a classic whodunnit or a psychological thriller, whilst also having supernatural elements. How well do you think Rendell combines these different strands?

  2. None of the characters in the book are very likeable, do you think this is a deliberate device to make the reader more sympathetic towards Minty, despite her being the murderer?

  3. Rendell uses the Paddington train crash in an extremely interesting way in the novel. How effective is it to introduce real life events into works of fiction?

  4. Ruth Rendell has been referred to as the queen of crime and her books...
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Reviews

Media Reviews

Publishers Weekly

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.

Author Blurb Scott Turow
Ruth Rendell is one of the greatest novelists presently at work in our language.

Author Blurb John Mortimer
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.

Author Blurb Anita Brookner
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.

Author Blurb Tony Hillerman
Those who haven't read Ruth Rendell have missed something unique and wonderful.

Author Blurb Patricia Cornwell
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.

Reader Reviews

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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