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A Demon in My View (Vintage Crime/Black Lizard) [Paperback]

Ruth Rendell
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Jan 2000 Vintage Crime/Black Lizard
She waits for him in the dark, her mind and body perfect, passive, until one day, when he goes to the cellar, and she is gone . . .

In A Demon in My View, Ruth Rendell creates a character as frightening as he is fascinating. Mild-mannered Arthur Johnson has never known how to talk to women. And his loneliness has perverted his desire for love and respect into a carefully controlled penchant for violence. One floor below him, a scholar finishing his thesis on psychopathic personalities is about to stumble—quite literally—upon one of Arthur's many secrets. Haunting and intelligent, A Demon in My View shows the startling results of this chilling alchemy of two very disparate minds—one pathological and the other obsessed with pathology.

Product details

  • Paperback: 182 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Books; 1st Vintage Books Ed edition (Jan 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375704914
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375704918
  • Product Dimensions: 20.6 x 13.1 x 1.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 5,499,425 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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


"The best mystery writer in the English-speaking world." - "Time" "From the Paperback edition." --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

A chilling portrayal of pathological violence, from the world's greatest living mystery writer and author of bestselling crime thriller, Thirteen Steps Down. Winner of the Crime Writers' Association Gold Dagger award for Best Crime Novel of the Year in 1976. One of Rendell's most terrifying works, A Demon in My View was made into an award-winning film starring the man who brought Hannibal Lector to life: Anthony Hopkins. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A breathtaking novel 23 Sep 2002
By A Customer
Ruth Rendell is unquestionably the best novelist in this, or any generation. Her stories of psychological suspense and downright sheer chillingness will, and deserve to, go down in history as some of the most artful novels ever written. And this, is one of her very very best.
The atmosphere is chilly and hostile, the plot and characters are disturbing and strange. She mixes the normal everyday tpicalities of life with the quirks in the mind of the mentally...different, brilliantly, so that the consequences are amazingly cathartic.
Disturbing, compelling, utterly absorbing, with a shock ending that is a masterpiece of irony, this is an amazing novel.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Downbeat, shabby, but compelling 21 Feb 2012
Ruth Rendell's novel has a remarkable atmosphere: downbeat, shabby, and claustrophobic.

The setting is 1970s bedsit-land, and Rendell really captured the time - having to plan when you are going to use a shared telephone, rent payments in brown envelopes, patchouli oil, two-week dustmen's strikes.

Arthur Johnson, the Kenbourne Killer, has been controlling his strangling urges for twenty years with the help of a shop-window dummy hidden in the cellar of his shared house. She is dressed in his Aunt's clothes, obviously, and he pops down there whenever the house is empty to `kill' her.

`Her white face, beautiful, unmarked by any flaw of skin or feature, stared blankly back at him. He fancied that she had cringed, her slim body pressing further into the wall behind her. He didn't speak. He had never known how to talk to women. There was only one thing he had ever been able to do to women and, advancing now, smiling, he did it.'

Arthur is a pernickety man who resents disorder, puts on a front of blameless propriety, has no social skills, and lacks any sense of perspective, - he writes a lengthy and remorseful note of apology when he opens a letter in error, but excuses himself the occasional killing. Rendell's ability to make Arthur sympathetic is remarkable and a little disturbing.

The arrival of the similarly named Anthony Johnson, a PhD student studying psychopathy, marks the beginning of a chaotic new period in Arthur's life, and ultimately to more deaths. Anthony's love affair with an annoyingly poetic woman called Helen reads like a subplot until it is woven back into the narrative later in the book. The end, when it comes, is sudden, and not at all what I expected in the penultimate chapter.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A demon in my view 4 Feb 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I found this a gripping story with a surprising and satisfying end. Main character very creepy and with no extraneous detail, plot pushed along in a plausible way. Ruth Rendell deserved the Golden Dagger Award for this story.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't put it down 29 July 2009
By Janeeo
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is about a psychopath and is written in a way that makes you look at the world through his eyes. The writing style is very cold, controlled and calculated and you can begin to see how the phsycopath's world can begin to unravel in the face of external events that he cannot control. A good read.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply the Best - A Ruth Rendell classic 26 May 2009
When I bought this book I expected something special and I ceratinly got it. Wow this book is in my top three ever reads. The superb style, the intricate weaving of the plot, the leading of the reader down roads and giving the merest glimpse of what is to come and then closing the door but opening it later to link in with the workings of a psychotic mind. The pinpoint accurate portrayal of someone stuck in the 1950's of his upbringing by Auntie Gracie. The very name conjures up the type of parent figure he had. And then the hammer blow of the ending with a further twist right at the end. To merely say I couldn't put it down does not do it justice. It is brilliant, buy it, read it, enjoy it. You will also remember it from time to time with a little unease. That is how good it is.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars SUPERB 29 Oct 2013
The best opening to any crime novel bar none. Touched with genius. Rendell writes elegantly and beautifully. She leave all the hyped newcomers standing.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By SueBee
The first Ruth Rendell I ever read and it had me hooked on her work for life - I've bought every book she's written ever since, some of them as good as this one and others not.

This is a wonderful story of a reclusive, pedantic but psychopathic man out of his depth and time in 70's London. Others have written synopses of the story so I shan't but it reminds me of my bedsit days in Shepherds Bush in the 70'! Corner shops and pubs, freezing little studio flats, nobody really knowing their neighbour, noisy door slammers, a multi ethnic community in a rather rundown area - it's all there.
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5.0 out of 5 stars nice early Rendell 20 Feb 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I very much enjoyed this early Rendell, which now reads like a period piece, so firmly set it is in the 1970s. I too lived in a flat like the one in the story, and I found her sympathy for the psychopathic murderer interesting. Why this hasn't been made into a film is beyond me.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars A Perceptive View of a Troubled Mind
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Ruth Rendell very cleverly parallels the research and findings of the PhD student, Anthony Johnstone who is exploring the nature of psychopathy with... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Mary-Ann Akerman
3.0 out of 5 stars a sad read
this book is about a lonely person who has had a sad life I found parts to be up setting.

but I would recommend it.
Published 6 months ago by linda ward
5.0 out of 5 stars Promptly delivered
Ironing and decorating wouldn't be the same without an audio book to listen to, and Ruth Rendell's books never disappoint.
Published 8 months ago by MRS C F EVERALL
5.0 out of 5 stars A Demon in my View
A very disturbing and haunting story, would not recommend to the faint hearted. However, personally I found the psychological insight into a murderers' mind very captivating and... Read more
Published 14 months ago by Paige-Ruby Dorman
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant!
Ruth Rendell has done it again. It is very well written and intensely absorbing. It might be considered just an easy read, but I think it is more than that. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Nell
5.0 out of 5 stars RR at her best
Absolutely fantastic! One of my favourites, a great story about a chilling psychopath, however it also had lots of laugh out loud moments from the Chinese lady who was a tenant in... Read more
Published 18 months ago by Lucifer
5.0 out of 5 stars Arthur Johnson- A true Creepy Rendell Character
This is to me one of the best Rendell books. Arthur Johnson is a superb creation. On a recent re-reading the office procedure seemed almost Victorian- no computers, faxes or... Read more
Published on 4 Jun 2011 by Troy Beal
4.0 out of 5 stars Curate's egg
I agree with all of the laudatory reviews, except with regard to the ending, which I thought rushed and contrived.
Published on 26 Oct 2010 by F. Merritt
1.0 out of 5 stars disappointed
i found it to be pure rubbish i usually am a fan of randall but i had difficulty in finishing it
Published on 13 Jun 2010 by L. E. Wellington-garrett
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