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The Water's Lovely [Audiobook] [Audio CD]

Ruth Rendell , Sian Thomas
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
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Book Description

23 Sep 2014
The award-winning author of The Babes in the Wood and The Rottweiler brings us another terrifically paced, richly drawn novel of suspense and psychological intrigue.

Weeks went by when Ismay never thought of it at all. Then something would bring it back or it would return in a dream. The dream always began in the same way.

She and her mother would be climbing the stairs, following Heather’s lead through the bedroom to what was on the other side, not a bathroom in the dream but a chamber floored and walled in marble. In the middle of it was a glassy lake. The white thing in the water floated towards her, its face submerged, and her mother said, absurdly, “Don’t look!”
The dead man was Ismay’s stepfather, Guy. Now, nine years on, she and her sister, Heather, still live in the same house in Clapham. But it has been divided into two self-contained flats. Their mother had lived upstairs with her sister, Pamela. And the bathroom, where Guy had drowned, had disappeared.

Ismay worked in public relations, and Heather in catering. They got on well. They always had. They never discussed the changes to the house, still less what had happened that August day. . .

But even lives as private as these, where secrets hang in the air like dust, intertwine with other worlds and other individuals. And, with painful inevitability, the truth will emerge.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product details

  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: Brilliance Audio; Unabridged edition (23 Sep 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1491535768
  • ISBN-13: 978-1491535769
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 12.7 x 1.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
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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


Ruth Rendell is back to her creepy best. She has always been wonderful at exploring the dark corners of the human mind, and the way private fantasies can clash and explode into terrifying violence (Daily Mail)

Once again, she had broken with the traditions of crime fiction, that it should engage the mind rather than the emotions (Sunday Times)

Rendell coaxes her horrors along so seductively that all kinds of nastiness seem not only possible, but inevitable (Literary Review)

Ruth Rendell is excellent at catatonia. She revels in the menacing potential of stillness, the sinister heft of the inanimate object. In this cool yet engrossing novel, life's miscellanea...threaten to unmask awful secrets. The suspense is genteel, but palpable... Rendell is in full control of her craft here. She places motives, possibilities, or question marks with forensic precision throughout the story...Impressively, she draws characters with great economy, unpicks and sustains them through a well-timed and smoothly executed story. (Sunday Times)

The plot twists in this electrifying read reach all the way to the last page. (Publishers Weekly) --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Book Description

Can you bury a secret so deep that the truth will never resurface? --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars
3.5 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
35 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Her best for some time in my opinion 13 Nov 2006
It is always interesting to read the thoughts of other reviewers here on Amazon but I was rather surprised a self-confessed Rendell buff would be disappointed with this latest book. I would rate it as her best written under her own name for several years. As another reviewer has pointed out her worst book was The Rotweiler and that was only three years ago. I really cannot imagine how anyone could prefer that to this!

The two sisters Ismay and Heather are the main characters and both are convincing and realistic. What I found particularly interesting is the way my opinions of them changed over the course of the story. Ismay starts out as the normal sister but gradually goes to pieces after she is dumped by her boyfriend. Anyone who has ever been dumped by someone they just could not get over will feel a lot of sympathy for some of the mad and desperate things Ismay does to try and get him back. The other sister Heather, who is a suspected murderer, starts out strange and reclusive but matures into a sensible, loving and determined young woman.

This is not a conventional mystery but then Ruth Rendell is always original and inventive in her psychological thrillers. The main crime in the book is the one Heather may have commited years ago but the novel is still full of suspense as we wait to see if Heather will be exposed and her happiness ruined. There is a big surprise at the end of the novel which is very tragic and the final scene is is ominous and chilling.

Of course tastes differ and all these reviews are just matters of opinion but for what its worth I would recommend this book to any Ruth Rendell fan. I am already looking forward to her next!
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Places to Live 24 Nov 2006
I ordered The Water's Lovely from Canada because it is unavailable still in the U.S. It is a pleasure to read the intelligent reviews of Rachel Walker and M.D. Smart on this page - I wish I knew people who appreciated Ruth Rendell as they obviously do. As for the novel - well, as M.D. Smart said, I tried to read it slowly to make the pleasure last, but midway through I was gripped and abandoned myself to a pell-mell pace, eager to learn what would next unfold. This is a wrenching and poignant and funny book. Marion Melville is my absolute favorite character, an often blundering but eventually triumphant manipulator. She dances through the storyline, alighting on each character for a pas de deux, then skittering away, always with a new plot and ploy. No one mentioned what I see as the theme of these intermingled tales (and tales they are - disparate lives that intertwine) - and that is home. So many of the characters are motivated by seeking a place to live. Their living situations define them. From the homeless beggar who keeps returning to his sister's flat to the duplex where Ismay and Heather live, so many of the plot twists turn on living circumstances and the search for home. I too felt there was a lot of coincidence here, but I do find that our lives are full of coincidences, and maybe they are not just coincidence but fate. Rendell is brilliant as ever, she must be diabolical. Once again as in Thirteen Steps Down, she leaves the zinger for the last paragraph. Don't look!
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ruth Rendell on terrific form 7 Nov 2006
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Ruth Rendell has been one of my favourite crime authors for many years now, but there was a period recently when she appeared to have lost her way slightly, producing a couple of books well below her usual standard. 2002's Wexford novel, 'Babes In The Wood' read like a short story padded out to three hundred pages, it was so slow and cumbersome. 2003's 'The Rottweiler' was even worse, surely the weakest book she has ever written, full of absurd stereotypes, ridiculous coincidences and ill-judged attempts at humour. It was hard to believe it had really been written by the same author who produced the likes of 'A Dark-Adapted Eye' and 'Keys To The Street'. Even her 2002 Barbara Vine novel 'The Blood Doctor', although far better than the two Rendell books, had something missing.

Since then, I'm relieved to say, she has been back to her usual self; her two novels from last year - the latest Wexford, 'End In Tears', and another Barbara Vine book, 'The Minotaur' - showed she was on form once more, and 'The Water's Lovely' continues that run of successes.

It's a typical Rendell tale of the secrets which bind a family together and eventually drive them apart. Sisters Ismay and Heather are trying to forget the death of their stepfather Guy twelve years ago when they were just teenagers. Guy was drowned in his bath, and Ismay has always suspected that Heather was responsible, protecting her beloved sister from Guy's sexual advances. Now both sisters are in serious relationships, and Ismay is wondering if Heather's fiance Ed should be told about his bride-to-be's apparently murderous past.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent 9 Nov 2006
I found this new Ruth Rendell book tremendously enjoyable. It tells the story of two sisters whose stepfather was drowned when they were young. Now they are adults and one sister is haunted by the belief that the other was responsible for their stepfather's death. The story takes many unexpected twists and turns and kept me entertained throughout. Ruth Rendell has a talent for entering into the minds of disturbed and dangerous individuals which is always convincing.

I did have one small criticism which I admit is very petty. When the death of the stepfather is recounted, the bath in which he drowned is described in some detail. In the same chapter the bath is described once again but this time it is completely different! At first I thought I had been very clever and spotted a future plot twist, something along the lines of False Memory Syndrome. I was quite disappointed when I realised it was just a mistake. However that is really the proofreader's fault, not Ms. Rendell's. It is their job, after all.

This very small error didn't spoil the story in any way, and I would recommend the book very highly, but I thought I would mention it to save other readers from getting confused as I did!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Peek into the lives of some very differnt characters.
Writing in the third person gives the author the chance to show the reader what various characters are thinking - an opportunity not afforded to the people in the story, all part... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Janet Gogerty
2.0 out of 5 stars A talent in decline?
Having not read a Ruth Rendell book for over twenty years I was surprised and disappointed at the contrast between this book and some of her earlier work like Live Flesh, which I... Read more
Published 3 months ago by D. Prudence
5.0 out of 5 stars One of Ruth Rendell's best.
I started reading this in the hotel library when on holiday and had to download it to my Kindle when I returned home. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Mrs Joan Shaw
2.0 out of 5 stars I finished it, but it didn't ring true
After a few pages I looked to see when this book had been published, expecting some date in the 70s or even earlier, but no actually in the noughties! Read more
Published 16 months ago by trishthedish
2.0 out of 5 stars Where's the thrill?
I felt very disappointed with this novel. Not being a prolific Rendell reader, I had expected it to be as great a read as; A Dark Adapted Eye, but unfortunately it was not. Read more
Published 18 months ago by mcpog
5.0 out of 5 stars The water,s lovely
Good read ,several different plots going on at the same time compelling you to read on, to discover who did what
Published 20 months ago by david crooks
3.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining, but ultimately unsatisfying
This is a very English crime novel. Somehow such crimes as ingratiating yourself with a little old lady so that she changes her will in your favour, then attempting to poison her... Read more
Published 22 months ago by F.R. Jameson
5.0 out of 5 stars not to be missed
Ruth Rendell at her best with an intriging mix of personalities and a dark, disturbing, secret which finally, painfully, coomes to the surface.
Published on 4 April 2012 by rizzo
3.0 out of 5 stars Rehashed from an earlier manuscript? Nitpickers beware
I agree with many of the other reviewers that this novel is essentially dull, lacks the tension of some of Rendell's earlier standalone novels, and that the dialogue is wooden in... Read more
Published on 1 Mar 2012 by H. Petre
4.0 out of 5 stars A chronicle of bottom feeders
Give Ruth Rendell credit, she doesn't shrink from heavy investment in unsavory characters and unhappy endings in pursuit of solid psychological thrillers. Read more
Published on 9 Dec 2011 by Blue in Washington
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