Tree Of Hands and over 2 million other books are available for Amazon Kindle . Learn more

Buy New

Sign in to turn on 1-Click ordering.
Buy Used
Used - Very Good See details
Price: 1.78

More Buying Choices
Have one to sell? Sell yours here
Sorry, this item is not available in
Image not available for
Image not available

Start reading Tree Of Hands on your Kindle in under a minute.

Don't have a Kindle? Get your Kindle here, or download a FREE Kindle Reading App.

The Tree of Hands [Paperback]

Ruth Rendell
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
RRP: 7.99
Price: 6.77 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
You Save: 1.22 (15%)
o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o
Only 4 left in stock.
Dispatched from and sold by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.
Want it Saturday, 26 April? Choose Express delivery at checkout. Details Trade-In Store
Did you know you can use your mobile to trade in your unwanted books for an Gift Card to spend on the things you want? Visit the Books Trade-In Store for more details or check out the Trade-In Amazon Mobile App Guidelines on how to trade in using a smartphone. Learn more.

Book Description

21 April 1994
Once when Benet was about fourteen she and her mother had been alone in a train carriage - and Mopsa had tried to stab her with a carving knife. It was some time since Benet had seen her psychologically disturbed mother. So when Mopsa arrived at the airport looking drab and colourless in a dowdy grey suit, Benet tried not to hate her. But then the tragic death of a child begins a chain of deception, kidnap and murder in which three women are pushed to their psychological limit. Winner of the Crime Writers' Association Silver Dagger in 1984 and shortlisted for the Mystery Writers of America Edgar Awards. Adapted into a hit thriller film starring Lauren Bacall.

Frequently Bought Together

The Tree of Hands + Going Wrong + Live Flesh
Price For All Three: 20.11

Buy the selected items together
  • Going Wrong 6.95
  • Live Flesh 6.39

Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought

Product details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Arrow Books Ltd; New edition edition (21 April 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099434709
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099434702
  • Product Dimensions: 11.1 x 17.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 161,016 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 web is spun with fiendish skill." - "Observer""Domestic dramas exploding into deaths and murders...Threads are drawn tightly together in a lethal last pattern." - "Sunday Times"

From the Back Cover

Once when Benet was about fourteen she and her mother had been alone in a train carriage – and Mopsa had tried to stab her with a carving knife.

It was some time since Benet had seen her mad mother. So when Mopsa arrived at the airport looking drab and colourless in a dowdy grey suit, Benet tried not to hate her.

But then the tragic death of a child begins a chain of deception, kidnap and murder…

"The Web is spun with fiendish skill"

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
Browse Sample Pages
Front Cover | Copyright | Excerpt | Back Cover
Search inside this book:

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars compelling page-turner. 12 Jan 2004
By S. Hapgood VINE VOICE
From the opening section of this book you could be forgiven for thinking that Mopsa, the selfish mother with a history of mental illness, is going to be the main protaganist of this book, but this is a good trick that I've noticed Rendell pull before. (Hitchcock did the same thing in "Psycho", lulling the viewer at the start into thinking that it was Marion who was at the centre of the story, when it was really Norman Bates, who hadn't come into the story yet). In fact once Mopsa has pulled off her most heinous trick of all she virtually disappears from the story altogether, apart from the occasional mention, and we are left with a whole mass of people caught up in the web she has inadvertently woven.
Mopsa's daughter Benet is a bestselling author with a little boy, James. When James dies from a breathing disorder Mopsa takes it into her irrational head to abduct a child as a substitute for him. At first Benet is appalled, but as the days go past she finds herself growing more and more attached to the little boy, Jason, whom she gradually suspects has been physically abused by his real mother, Carol Stratford. The story moves backwards and forwards from Benet's life to Carol's, and also, along the way, looking in at that of Terry Wand, an ex-boyfriend of Carol's, who is up to some pretty shady dealing of his own.
This is an immensely clever story, and Rendell writes with a clear, refreshingly unsentimental eye. She wastes little sympathy on Carol, who is shown to be an amoral woman completely uninterested in her own children. She isn't even aware Jason is missing until about 2 days later! Little Jason himself isn't simply a stock toddler character, but to very much have a personality of his own.
There is a happy ending, although a lot of the characters do come to a sticky end.
Read more ›
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars scary but true 9 Mar 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
scary but true because the book describes the unpredictable and rapidly changing personality of mopsa, the main characters' mother, who is mentally ill. benet gives a good insight into what it is like to live with schizpohrenia, (as it was understood in the 1980s). i read this book as part of my research for a psychology dissertation on depictions of mental illness in crime and thriller novels, and it is well researched and realistic.
apart from that it is a great novel, with plenty of opportunities for the reader to think they have it all figured out, only to realise they have no idea!! the characters are very believable, which isn't always a pleasant thing. they are real, selfish, manipulative, guilt-ridden, trying their best, honest, decent...the full range really!
the book starts with a happy beginning and gets progressively worse - like a good crime thriller should. it took me a bit to get into it, but once i was hooked i stayed up all night until the end.
this was the first (believe it or not) rendell book i read, and i now plan on reading many more.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
This is Ruth Rendell during her top writing years, published 1984 the plotting operates on several cleverly interlinked levels. The characters are superbly drawn and absolutely believable.

Readers of RR seem to fall into two camps, there are those like me, older readers, who have followed her for many a long year and then there are newer readers, some may have found her through TV dramatisations. Those who have followed loyally for an age, are the ones most likely to be bitterly disappointed with her latest output and that is why I sometimes go back to these earlier books. They are all more than worthy of a second read because they are so heavily detailed.
Mindful of a spoiler from another reader, there is not a lot I can reveal about the plot. It centres around a young mother and her toddler, together her with her rather unhinged mum, who, in an attempt to be kind and helpful to her daughter, unleashes a devastating chain of events, which for me, end very satisfactorily. Some of the passages I found as a mum very upsetting but they had to be that way for the story to work. Well worth a re-read or, if you have only read later Rendell's do give this one a go
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars yet more first-class fiction 21 Dec 2003
By RachelWalker TOP 500 REVIEWER
Benet Archdale’s selfish mother Margaret (“Mopsa”) was mad. She once tried to stab her 14 year old daughter with a carving knife as they travelled in a train together. Now, after many years Mopsa is supposedly recovered, living with her husband in Spain, while Benet, now a writer, remains alone in England with her young son James.
But now Mopsa has to return to England, to undergo some final assessments at the hospital where she was treated, and she is going to stay with her daughter, who constantly has to remind herself not to hate her mother who was, after all, mentally ill. This, then, is the set-up for Rendell’s CWA Dagger-winning novel. And it is a set-up that leads to a violent chain of assault, deception, the kidnap of a child, and, finally, murder.
I normally end up saying mostly the same things about Rendell’s brilliant books. Brilliant character, deadly psychology, complex, skilful plotting, fearful atmosphere, etc etc etc. This, I suppose, may give the impression that Rendell’s books are all rather similar, but that is not so at all. They are all, every one of them, different and original and exquisite pieces of fiction. However, it is those factors (darkness, psychological brilliance, piercing character and social insight, seamless plotting) which unite her works undoubtedly. Each novel brings a different twist to the “formula” (I use quotation marks because there is actually no real formula for anything Rendell does), though, and each one sparkles.
The Tree of Hands is another excellent book from Rendell. It seems often that she can do no wrong, and I get sick of saying “another brilliant book by Rendell”, but there is little else one CAN say when all an author’s books are uniformly excellent.
Read more ›
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
Would you like to see more reviews about this item?
Were these reviews helpful?   Let us know
Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars A thoroughly good read
This is Ruth Rendell at her best. Full of suspense and very original so I would recommend it to those who like crime books.
Published 2 months ago by daisy lou
3.0 out of 5 stars Ok
I usually love Ruth Rendell, but this is not one of her best, not really a lot more I can say about this, pretty forgettable
Published 10 months ago by MRS AAPAYNE
4.0 out of 5 stars Rendell at her best
Benet just moved into a new house with her young son James when her mother Mopsa comes to stay for a while from Spain. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Bakey
5.0 out of 5 stars Ruth Rendell never fails to deliver
A psychologial thriller from the mistres of crime herself. Allow time to read this as you won't want to put it down.
Published 13 months ago by Mrs. L. S. Ward
5.0 out of 5 stars These Hands caught me and didn't let go!
Open the book and you won't put it down unless you really have to. And then that won't be for long. The characters are hugely interesting and so real. And the plot is fantastic. Read more
Published on 15 Jan 2008 by CLynn
3.0 out of 5 stars Some glaring errors
I agree with the other reviewers - this was yet another exciting read from Ruth Rendell, I could not put it down and all in all it was excellent. Read more
Published on 15 Nov 2007 by Tamara
4.0 out of 5 stars Wickedness and fate
Ruth Rendell is ever so clever in this book. A very wicked story about very wicked characters doing very wicked things. Read more
Published on 10 Sep 2002 by Ingrid De Kokere
Search Customer Reviews
Only search this product's reviews

Customer Discussions

This product's forum
Discussion Replies Latest Post
No discussions yet

Ask questions, Share opinions, Gain insight
Start a new discussion
First post:
Prompts for sign-in

Search Customer Discussions
Search all Amazon discussions

Look for similar items by category