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The Keys To The Street [Paperback]

Ruth Rendell
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
RRP: £7.99
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Book Description

4 Sep 1997

Mary Jago donates her bone marrow to save the life of a complete stranger; a generous act of kindness that culminates in a violent break-up with her brutish boyfriend.

Moving to the affluent edge of London's famous Regent's Park, Mary believed she had finally escaped the threat of violence. She never thought that one simple act of kindness could put her own life in mortal danger.

When the bodies of local homeless people are found impaled on the park's railings, violently murdered by a deranged serial killer, Mary could not have suspected a connection to herself. But on the dark and mysterious streets of Rendell's labyrinthine London, everyone is trapped in her tightly woven web of murder and mystery.


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Product details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Arrow; New Ed edition (4 Sep 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 009918432X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099184324
  • Product Dimensions: 11.1 x 17.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 286,210 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

Review

"Streets ahead ... She is at her absolute best" (Daily Mail)

"The book's plotting is in the grand-master class, its suspense breathless, its denouement shattering" (Sunday Times)

"This time she has surpassed herself" (Antonia Fraser Sunday Telegraph)

"There's a manipulative plotter at work in The Keys to the Street, and it's the author" (John Mullan, The Guardian)

"Psychologically acute and extremely disturbing, Ruth Rendell’s work is outstanding" (The Times)

Book Description

London's wealthiest, poorest, kindest and most dangerous citizens all cross paths in Regent's Park. All it takes to bring them together is a series of brutally gruesome murders.

A thrilling exploration of London's criminal underbelly, from the world's best mystery writer and author of bestselling psychological thrillers including Thirteen Steps Down.


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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
By S. Hapgood VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
"The Keys to the Street" is set during a long hot summer in London, and concerns a diverse group of people who live around Regent's Park, and whose lives are fated to be interlocked in ways they could never have expected. In the background a serial-killer is impaling his victims (usually down-and-outs) on the railings of the park, which, curiously, instead of having a menacing feel to the daily lives of the characters, has a somewhat surreal one! It is a heady tale of murder, blackmail, drugs, deceit, and sexual perversion.
Mary Jago is a lonely young woman, trying to get out of a relationship with Alistair, a violent and pathologically possessive man. She leaves him to house-sit for a rich elderly couple who are travelling abroad for six months. Mary agrees to meet the young man, Leo Nash, whom she donated bone marrow to, and soon finds herself becoming closely involved with him. Also coming into her new life on daily intervals is Leslie Bean, a 70-ish man who earns a bit of extra money walking the dogs of Mary's rich new neighbours. Bean is retired from being a manservant, and his past contains some very dodgy episodes indeed. Also very much part of the story are the down-and-outs who live on the streets, among them Roman, a well-educated ex-businessman who has deliberately chosen the vagrant's lifestyle to escape from his harrowing past. (I always wondered what it would be like for someone who had a bit of money to voluntarily take to the streets, and Rendell describes it convincingly here). On the fringes of it all is Hob, a pathetic low-life, addicted to whatever will take him out of things for a short while, and ready to do anything, usually involving violence, to earn the money to feed his habit.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars indescribably good 3 Sep 2003
By RachelWalker TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
This novel is rather like a symbolic microcosm of a solar system. That is the only way I can find to describe it. All that characters’ lives go around in their own orbit, but occasionally they meet, those orbits cross, and each is influenced by this meeting in some way, be it good or bad, and they carry on once more, their paths forever altered slightly, or maybe not so slightly. Because this is Rendell’s world, and in Rendell’s world those planets don’t always just cross, they collide.
The main plot, I suppose, centres on Mary Jago, a young woman living in London. Mary has donated her own bone marrow to save the lie of a stranger. This generous act of kindness lead directly to the break-up of her relationship with the despiseable Alistair, and she moves out, taking up residence in a house on the edge of Regent’s Park, looking after it while the owners are on holiday. However, soon, the man whose live she has saved will alter her own life irrevocably for ever.
Inhabiting Regent’s Park (which, I suppose, would be the Sun of the earlier analogy) are the dropouts, the street-people, forgotten and ignored by society, until a vicious killer starts targeting them, leaving their bodies impaled upon the railings that border the park. Rendell creates several of these misfits, the most important one, I suppose, being Roman, a man who took to the streets, leaving behind his past and possessions, when his life was shattered upon the deaths of his wife and young children in a horrific accident. He is particularly interesting.
Then there is Bean, a retired butler-turned-dog-walker who roams the park every day exercising his canine clients, who despises the tramps who take refuge there.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a five-star read! 14 May 2001
Format:Paperback
I read this book two years ago and have come across this title again on Amazon while looking for ather titles by Ruth Rendell. It is an extremely well written book, the plot is exciting and everybody who knows central London will have dejà-vu feelings reviewing many familiar spots described in detail by the author. I definitely recommend it!
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3.0 out of 5 stars Gory love story 3 Jun 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Not the best Rendell novel, nevertheless absorbing. A very intriguing story, found some of the geography a little too involved and unnecessary, was eager to find out what happened next.
Spoiled by appalling editing.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Good book, but the ending 10 Oct 2013
Format:Paperback
I enjoyed the book very much and found the stories of the individual people involved very catching. But I did not like the ending and I wish Rendell had mentioned a name again and not solely relied on the description of a person that I did not recognize anymore and to this day I do not know who-dunnit. I could find out by reading the book again, but that is not the point. I find it frustrating that there is no clear end to the story.
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3.0 out of 5 stars The Keys to The Street Ruth Rendell 18 Jan 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
It started off and held my attention but the middle of the book seems to go no where very quickly and seems a bit of a bore. I am yet to finish this book. Noticed lots of spelling errors.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Keys to the street, Ruth Rendell
Good read, kept me on the edge of my seat. Found I needed to look at a map of London to find out what gate was where in order to understand what was going on. Very good.
Published 22 months ago by woman in the west
5.0 out of 5 stars Marvellously unexpected - a slow burning wonder
I have been reading this book on and off for about a month. At first I didn't connect so much with the story, but of course as it's a Rendell I knew it was bound to go somewhere,... Read more
Published on 15 May 2012 by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Great descriptions
I cannot add much that hasn't been said before on here! Rendell presents a unique and fascinationg picture of life in and around Regents Park, contrasting the lives of the wealthy... Read more
Published on 16 Oct 2010 by Alison Hart
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read-definitely worth buying
This is another great book from Ruth Rendell. If you like her novels you'll love this one. It is both disturbing and exciting and she resolves the whole thing brilliantly. Read more
Published on 9 Jun 2010 by Lulu
5.0 out of 5 stars The Keys to the Street
One of Ruth Rendells best non Wexford novels, the plot moves between the many different threads with fluidity, keeping the reader engaged throughout. Read more
Published on 26 Jun 2009 by else
4.0 out of 5 stars A great read.
Ms. Rendell always gives us an in-depth tour of some part of London. This time it's Regent Park. A young woman who donated bone marrow is offered a chance to correspond with, and... Read more
Published on 28 Nov 2001 by B. Mckee
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