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The Girl Next Door Audio Download – Unabridged

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Product Description

In the waning months of the Second World War, a group of children discover an earthen tunnel in their neighbourhood outside London. Throughout the summer of 1944 - until one father forbids it - the subterranean space becomes their 'secret garden', where the friends play games and tell stories.

Six decades later, beneath a house on the same land, construction workers uncover a tin box containing two skeletal hands, one male and one female. As the discovery makes national news, the friends come together once again, to recall their days in the tunnel for the detective investigating the case. Is the truth buried among these aging friends and their memories?

This impromptu reunion causes long-simmering feelings to bubble to the surface. Alan, stuck in a passionless marriage, begins flirting with Daphne, a glamorous widow. Michael considers contacting his estranged father, who sent Michael to live with an aunt after his mother vanished in 1944. Lewis begins remembering details about his Uncle James, an army private who once accompanied the children into the tunnels, and who later disappeared.

In The Girl Next Door Rendell brilliantly shatters the assumptions about age, showing that the choices people make - and the emotions behind them - remain as potent in late life as they were in youth.

©2014 Ruth Rendell (P)2014 Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd

Product details

  • Audio Download
  • Listening Length: 10 hours and 4 minutes
  • Program Type: Audiobook
  • Version: Unabridged
  • Publisher: Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd
  • Release Date: 14 Aug. 2014
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00MN23SEI
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank:

Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Lady Fancifull TOP 500 REVIEWER on 13 Nov. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
Ruth Rendell has a long and distinguished career as a crime novelist, both of a series involving an ongoing inspector (Wexford) and as a crime writer of standalone books, without and ongoing investigator, And then there is her writing using another name, Barbara Vine. The Vine books (which generally prefer) are rather darker and rather more devoted to complex subterranean psychology. It could be said they are really psychological thrillers.

Curiously, Rendell's latest `Barbara Vine' did not quite `bite' with me the way she usually does.

This latest Rendell is also not quite expected Rendell. For those expecting a crime, and an investigation to unmask the perpetrator it will come as a bit of a surprise to find the crime, and the perpetrator, and indeed the motive, are all explained in the blurb.

In the 40s, a man murders his wife and her lover, does a bit of dismemberment and buries their hands in a biscuit tin. (he saw them holding hands, when he came home unexpectedly, which alerted him to what was going on). Local children, including his son, play in the tunnels in semi-rural Loughton (as it was then) The tunnels will serve as a hiding place for the hands

Jumping forward more than 60 years the community of children have gone their ways, though some have kept in contact. Their lives begin to connect again when building development work uncovers the hands and the tin, and a half-hearted cold cases enquiry begins. Half-hearted as it is pretty obvious that whoever did the deed, and on whom, is most likely to be dead. The children who played in the tunnels are either themselves dead or in their seventies and more.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Bodil Marie Sørensen -Vaasemaas on 29 Nov. 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Not among those old enough to have accumulated some.
It is very daring to begin a novel with an unlikeable protagonist. We are lead to believe that this terrible person is to be the main character, and most readers prefer to be able to identify to some extent with the protagonist.
Luckily this psychopatic person leaves the scene, and keeps in the background from then on.
It is a geriatric novel, no doubt about it. All the characters from the first chapters are suddenly old, and in their twilight years.
As often is the case in crime fiction, the solving of a crime has more implications for a wider circle of people, and even between these old folks, feelings and emotions are stirred, and shaken.
After the unraveling of the crime which took place during ww||, the lives of the now very old group of people will not be the same again.
Ruth Rendell has done it again with the enthusiasm we have become used to expect from her.

People may look old on the outside, but the inside may still react in an unexpected and surprising way.

Bodil Marie - Keeping her Wits about Her.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By C. Bannister TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 14 Aug. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
At the beginning of this book we meet the murderer, we know one of the victims and we also know why the murder was committed. I found the character of the murderer and his victim the sketchiest of all, he seemed a little one dimensional but the story soon flips to the discovery of the hands in a biscuit tin found seventy years later.

The story almost appears to change genre with the discovery as we meet the now elderly characters who at the time of the murder were young children living in the area. These children had played in foundations of an unbuilt house inventing games under the ground. The story then concentrates on these characters as some of them meet after many years apart to help the police investigating (unwillingly) the provenance of the hands. These meetings have consequences that couldn’t have been foreseen as in the last years of their lives each of the characters have different challenges to face.

Ruth Rendell does what she does best, she examines the motives of these people making the subtle point that even in old age, people make mistakes, they still learn things about themselves and they can change the way they behave. There are some lovely people including the dear Mrs Moss who used to clean for the murderer as well as the misguided and the downright rotten.

The descriptions of Loughton bought the place to life and the plot was well executed although I found that in parts the looking back at how people said things a little repetitive at times but it did underline the enormous changes that someone in their late seventies would have seen over their lifetime.

I enjoyed this book although it wasn’t quite what I expected but it was less entertaining for that.
I’d like to thank the publishers, Random House, who gave me a copy of this book to review ahead of the publication date of 14 August 2014
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful By S Riaz HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 15 Aug. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
This novel, more literary than traditional crime fiction, veers between the present and the past. During the Second World War a group of children in Loughton, Essex, played together in some underground tunnels they found and renamed ‘the qanats.’ Nobody really remembers why, but time has passed and the group of children have grown up, grown old and, mostly, dispersed. However, the discovery of a pair of severed hands, buried in a biscuit tin so long ago, now brings many of those who played there so long ago back together again. Daphne Jones, three times married and still glamorous, Michael Winwood, whose father chased them from the tunnels and Lewis Newman, both now widowed, childhood sweethearts Alan Norris and Rosemary Wharton and the Batchelors – of whom George, Stanley and Norman are still alive.

The police are asked to investigate the crime – of which the reader is already aware of both victims and murderer . However, this book is more about the impact of the discovery and of unearthing old memories on those involved. In many ways this is a poignant and touching read – of both how age limits and frees us. It reunites old lovers, wreaks huge changes and forces people to confront their loss and childhood traumas. Ruth Rendell manages to make all the characters sympathetic, so you really care about what happens to them. Despite the length of time between the crime and the investigation, making even the police involved cynical about finding a conclusion, there is little doubt that confronting what happened at that time will help solve unanswered questions, make some characters doubt the way they are living their lives and, in some cases, make enormous changes. I really enjoyed this novel, even though it was not a traditional ‘whodunnit’ and it made me question why I have not read more of Ruth Rendell’s novels. Luckily, that is something I can, and do, intend to rectify. Lastly, I received a copy of this book from the publishers, via NetGalley, for review.
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