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Copper Peacock [Hardcover]

2.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

1 Jun 1993
The copper peacock of the title is a hideous bookmark given to writer Bernard by Judy, his cleaning lady. She had brought order to his chaotic life, but the bookmark destroys it all. If only she had given herself instead, she might have lived.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product details

  • Hardcover
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0517109239
  • ISBN-13: 978-0517109236
  • Average Customer Review: 2.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

More About the Author

Ruth Rendell has won many awards, including the Crime Writers' Association Gold Dagger for 1976's best crime novel with A Demon in My View; a second Edgar in 1984 from the Mystery Writers of America for the best short story, 'The New Girl Friend'; and a Gold Dagger award for Live Flesh in 1986. She was also the winner of the 1990 Sunday Times Literary award, as well as the Crime Writers' Association Cartier Diamond Dagger. In 1996 she was awarded the CBE and in 1997 became a Life Peer.

Product Description


"Rendell's psychological insights are so absorbing, it's easy to forget what a superb plotter she is" (The Times)

"The most brilliant mystery novelist of our time" (Patricia Cornwell)

"One of the greatest novelists presently at work in our language... A writer whose work should be read by anyone who either enjoys a brilliant mystery - or distinguished literature" (Scott Turow) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

A collection of nine short crime and horror stories from the bestselling mystery writer Ruth Rendell, including an appearance by one of the crime genre's most popular characters: Detective Chief Inspector Reg Wexford. A chilling insight into the seemingly ordinary human mind and its potential for psychopathic violence. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

2.0 out of 5 stars
2.0 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars The Copper Peacock short story 6 Sep 2011
I read this the other day, just The Copper Peacock. It was a good read until the last few lines and I was left thinking, "What? Have I missed the point? So what? Why has she ended it here?" There didn't seem any drama, twist or highlight. Just the woman died and he chucked the bookmark out so the dog wouldn't chew it. Now if HE had killed her .... that would have been more like Ruth Rendell. Maybe he did beat her up and had no memory of it. Perhaps that is the point of the story. I don't know. It's put me off reading any more of her short stories. I love her novels.
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2.0 out of 5 stars just 1 story was ok 19 Aug 2003
uhm...usually I like Ruth Rendell but in this book I had just found 1 novel that was quite ok..the way. they were soooo strange....
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3.0 out of 5 stars Not one of her best 18 July 2001
By A Customer
Ruth Rendell is a truely gifted crime fiction writer and when reading her books you always feel as if there is going to be a twist in the tale. The nine short stories in this book are not, in my opinion, among her best. However, after reading them you do begin to think about how ordinary events can have a significant impact on your life. The story which gives it's name to the title of the book is an example of this. A tale of how a man's opinion of another human being can change so completely due to one action, the gift of a copper peacock, leaves you feeling uneasy.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Clever Stories, Some Mysteries, Others Just Crafty Tales 30 Sep 2005
By Dai-keag-ity - Published on
The title story, The Copper Peacock, may not be the best in the volume, but it lingers strongest in memory. It is a sad tale about a working class cleaning lady who comes to tidy the flat of a snobby rich society type, and though the kind-hearted, rough-spoken cleaning lady tries to be friendly, the snob only looks down on her and belittles her. We notice, as the employer does not, how hard the woman's life clearly is and catch signs that go missed by her self-important boss that the maid is in an abusive relationship. When one day the cleaning woman brings her employer a gift she thought might be appreciated--a small copper neo-modern peacock for a desk ornament--the employer does not try to conceal the contempt felt over the piece, which is clearly inferior to the refined tastes and artistic pretensions that have been cultivated over a lifetime. The unfeeling boss is heedless to the fact the item no doubt cost a lot in comparison to what the maid earned, and does not care how the rejection of the gift hurts the well-meaning woman. Shortly after this the maid is beaten to death by her violent boyfriend and the employer at last realizes regret over the reaction to the gift the maid got her.

A sad, sad, sad, story!

Fortunately the remainder of the tales in this collection are not quite so dreary. In one, a likable young professional woman is reading in a public place when some items of her clothing are stolen by a tall woman whom she sees hurrying away into a crowd. She is angered by this intrusion, and it leads on down the story to her involvement with an odd, charming man who connects back to her because of the incident of theft, which he claimed to witness. Eventually the woman is at the man's flat and as she begins looking around, she finds her missing possessions and realizes in a chilling "it's too late now" moment that the MAN was the thief, that he dresses as a woman to go out in public and commit his thefts--brilliant disguise!--and now she's, as it might be said, "in his clutches"...

Another short story is about a woman in love with a married man. The man drags the reluctant young woman into a plot to murder his wife, so that they might be married. The woman neither agrees nor exactly recoils from the plot and after the woman is dead, she accepts her place as wife and stepmother but things are rather ruined and she never thinks of the man the same way again. Years pass, she gets older and is increasingly unhappy. She begins to grow paranoid that her husband is having an affair with a woman of roughly the same age she was when she and the man first met. She has some minor "accidents" come to pass around her and is terrified that she is marked for death. Though the husband tells her it's madness, of course he loves her, she is left a screaming wreck, utterly regretting the life her complicity has gotten for her.

Probably the best mystery among these nine stories is about the apparent suicide of an elderly woman with a history of depression and past attempts on her own life. Shortly before her death, the old woman had taken to "interfering" as it is seen, between a controlling woman and the woman's rebellious teenaged daughter, whom the old woman had befriended and with whom she sympathized. Though there is a suicide note definitely written by the old woman, a police inspector is not certain she was not murdered. His colleagues question how it could be murder when there is a note left behind and the signs of suicide are so clear. The case is investigated and the facts eventually comes to light as to whether the death was in fact suicide, or murder.

Ruth Rendell's best work of all are the stories in The Copper Peacock.
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