Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Crowded City Is a Lonely Place . . .

From crime fiction’s reigning queen
comes a diabolically intricate tapestry
that weaves together the lives
of very different people
in that vibrant part of London
known as Portobello.

Lucy Atkins investigates
Ruth Rendell's Portobello
in The Sunday Times


  1. Anonymous8:43 AM

    Yet another book for my TBR list -- I fell in love with her writing last year and whizzed through a number of Rendell and Vine novels. Actually, I think I like her Barbara Vine psychological studies better, but I believe her Rendell mysteries are getting more like them. In fact, there's less and less difference between the novels under her two bylines in recent years. Agree? Disagree?

  2. I've not read any of the Barbara Vine books, Susan; but, I think Rendell's amazing; and, even without reading the BV novels, I think her work's become more "cerebral" as she's become more willing to more fully realise her characters in all their aspects.

    As well, the fact that crime fiction's no longer ghettoised as somehow second-rate reading for semi-literates, IMO, has given her more confidence to do first-class justice to the genre (or, do I mean, More of a sense of purpose that what she's doing is both meaningful and valuable in and of itself?).

    So, I'd agree with you insofar as ISTM she's generally become bolder; and, in so doing, created even richer tapestries for her characters, both internally and externally, to ravel or unravel, as the case may be.

    One thing I have noticed over the years? She's flexible. By that, of course, I mean, she keeps pace with the world around her; and, invariably, the contemporary world of her work's never over-stressed, a fact that makes each work fresh in its own way (so that, even if you'd never read anything else in the series, you'd really enjoy the one book you did devour in one night).

    (I like to think McLuhan's pronouncement concerning detective mysteries being the highest form of literary work has had something to do with this.)