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Tigerlily's Orchids (Unabridged Audiobook) Audio CD – Audiobook, Unabridged

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Product details

  • Audio CD: 9 pages
  • Publisher: Whole Story Audio Books; Unabridged Audiobook edition (5 Aug. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1407459112
  • ISBN-13: 978-1407459110
  • Product Dimensions: 14.2 x 2.5 x 15.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (56 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 673,188 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Ruth Rendell was an exceptional crime writer, and will be remembered as a legend in her own lifetime. Her groundbreaking debut novel, From Doon With Death, was first published in 1964 and introduced the reader to her enduring and popular detective, Inspector Reginald Wexford, who went on to feature in twenty-four of her subsequent novels.

With worldwide sales of approximately 20 million copies, Rendell was a regular Sunday Times bestseller. Her sixty bestselling novels include police procedurals, some of which have been successfully adapted for TV, stand-alone psychological mysteries, and a third strand of crime novels under the pseudonym Barbara Vine. Very much abreast of her times, the Wexford books in particular often engaged with social or political issues close to her heart.

Rendell won numerous awards, including the Crime Writers' Association Gold Dagger for 1976's best crime novel with A Demon in My View, a Gold Dagger award for Live Flesh in 1986, and the Sunday Times Literary Award in 1990. In 2013 she was awarded the Crime Writers' Association Cartier Diamond Dagger for sustained excellence in crime writing. In 1996 she was awarded the CBE and in 1997 became a Life Peer.

Ruth Rendell died in May 2015. Her final novel, Dark Corners, is scheduled for publication in October 2015.

Product Description

Amazon Review

No doubt Tigerlily’s Orchids will start the customary Ruth Rendell debate. Rendell aficionados take great pleasure in debating which are her finest books -- the much-loved Inspector Wexford series or her disturbing stand-alone psychological crime novels. This latest book is firmly in the latter camp, and for those (such as this writer) who – on balance -- prefer Rendell moving out of police procedural territory, it's a real treat.

A housewarming party for a new flat is usually a pleasurable experience, but the one thrown by the unworldly Stuart Font is to have unwanted consequences. Stuart invites everyone in his building to the bash, even the caretaker and his wife – people, Stuart finds, it is hard to warm to. The party turns out to be a memorable one for everyone involved – but for all the wrong reasons. The eponymous ‘Tigerlliy’ is an attractive young Asian women who is one of Stuart’s nearest neighbours (he was the one who gave her the exotic sobriquet); she does not however, conform to the stereotypical image of the powerless, vulnerable Asian woman. Her influence over those around her is to prove dark and all-enveloping, and Stuart’s parents will have reason to be concerned -- very concerned – for their hapless son.

The cruel wit of the narrative here is firmly in the unsettling territory of Rendell’s best work, and the sardonic note (as well as the fey, not-quite-naturalistic elements) are characteristic of the author's more recent efforts – the years are not softening her view of life. As usual, it is the sharp, quirky observation of character that makes Tigerlily’s Orchids so distinctive. The eccentric quality may not be to everyone’s taste – and it’s perhaps not a book for new Ruth Rendell readers to start with (one has to assume there will always be some), but admirers can part with their money with equanimity. --Barry Forshaw --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


One of the best novelists writing today. --P.D. James

Ruth Rendell's work is outstanding. --The Times

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Customer Reviews

3.2 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 27 people found the following review helpful By G. J. Oxley on 17 Aug. 2010
Format: Hardcover
In `Tigerlily's Orchids' Ruth Rendell takes one of her favourite themes - creepy and downright sad individuals living in close proximity to one another (in this case a block of flats) - lights the blue touch paper, takes a step back, and allows events to ignite and explode on the page.

The characters include Stuart Font, a beautiful, vain young man who is perhaps the book's protagonist until something nasty happens to him; a retired alcoholic woman; two elderly ex-hippies who meet again years after a one night stand; a doctor who writes dodgy newspaper columns on medical matters; three young female students, and the building's vile caretaker and his strange, deluded wife.

In addition to this, living opposite the flats is a retired ex-mechanic who enjoys people-watching and provides each of those he observes with a nickname. Next door to his home is a house with four Asian inhabitants, including the `Tigerlily' of the title (a nickname given to her by the neighbour - her actual name is Xue) whom Stuart Font becomes infatuated with. This is in addition to conducting an affair with Claudia, a married magazine editor...

Rendell weaves all the stories together; each character interacts with the others in some way. It's the matter-of-fact narrative voice Rendell employs that makes her often psychologically damaged individuals so believable, and the intertwined tales so gripping. Despite the seediness on offer, this is a pleasurable, compelling read.

The author tightens her narrative grip towards the end and provides an excellent resolution - one I didn't see coming.

It's not quite vintage Dame Ruth, but it's still an absorbing novel being both utterly sordid and strange. Without wishing to cause offence, I'll ask the question again: how DOES she produce works of this quality when she's now in her early eighties? She is a writing phenomenon, and still one of the best in the business.

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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Snowleopard on 22 Sept. 2010
Format: Hardcover
It's odd, but while I continue to find all Ruth Rendell's novels completely unputdownable, I'm finding the later ones increasingly unsatisfying. One reviewer commented on the fact that so many of her characters are so unpleasant, and this does make it quite hard to care about what happens to them. Apart from the sweet starry-eyed middle-aged lovers Rose and Marius and perhaps one or two others, it's hard to find a remotely sympathetic character in this book. Another reviewer found Olwen the alcoholic heartbreaking, but although I certainly found her bleakly believable, she also seemed most unlovable, not only because she was obviously beyond help in her alcoholic decline but because she was so cold that I could hardly blame her stepchildren for not wanting to have more to do with her.

The resolution of the supposed 'mystery' surrounding 'Tigerlily's' house surprised me only because what was really going on there (orchids, my foot!) had seemed so glaringly obvious all along that I thought it must surely be something else. And as for the murderer's identity, when it was finally revealed, the character was so undeveloped that the answer seemed almost incidental. All in all, a bit of a let-down.
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40 of 44 people found the following review helpful By RachelWalker TOP 500 REVIEWER on 9 Aug. 2010
Format: Hardcover
I've a blind devotion to Ruth Rendell. That said, she hasn't written a novel I've absolutely loved under her Rendell name for around ten years, since Adam and Eve and Pinch Me. She's come close since then (Thirteen Steps Down, for example), but several of her recent novels have been - while very good - slightly lacking in something... tension, bite, tautness, whatever, I'm not sure. Tigerlily's Orchids is NOT the kind of stunning work of fiction she has produced in the past, but it's certainly on a par with Thirteen Steps Down.

I really can't put my finger on what it is that makes some of the recent novels of less than her normal excellence. They're a bit looser, there's not so much tension, so much sense of impending doom. They're not so intense. Yes, I think that's it. They're not so intense or claustrophobic. Also, I don't think her characters are quite as believable as they once were... lately she has taken on a tendency to exaggerate people's character traits to elaborate their personality, which makes them seem a little ridiculous (Claudia is a prime example here), and it takes away from one of the great strengths of her work: the shocking believability of the people involved in the latent horrors of day to day life. Also, and I am loathe to admit it, but she writes with a very old fashioned eye. She's always at pains to point out when something is "as it is said/done nowadays"; that's an exemplar of the attitude that keeps peeking through. Almost everyone seems as if they would be more at home at least a decade, if not more, ago.

That all said, she's still my favourite crime-writer. Her novels are still unique, as are her outlook and attitude. She is exceptional at conjuring strange plots and situations. She knits plots brilliantly.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Sellers on 9 July 2011
Format: Hardcover
For about the first third of this book, I thought we weren't heading anywhere particularly satisfying. The writing is good: stark but engaging. The characters are intriguing enough: isolated misfits shuffling through modern life- But frankly they could have each have been lifted from any other Rendell books: the vain, possibly sociopathic young man; the drunken gobby older woman; the creepy chap with a disturbing obsession. All seemed par for the Rendell course. I knew something bad was coming, that characters' paths would cross in unexpected ways ... I settled down to be gently entertained.

And then, to my surprise, it went up a gear.

The fate of one of the main characters took me by surprise, as did the contents of that house ... Intertwining stories tightened and the narrative picked up pace.

Not the best of the non-Wexford Rendells (A Sight for Sore Eyes takes that rosette, in my view - yes, even better than A Judgment in Stone!), but up there with Thirteen Steps Down, The Keys to the Street and The Killing Doll.
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