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The Crocodile Bird Paperback – 29 Sep 1994

4.5 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Arrow; New Ed edition (29 Sept. 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099303787
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099303787
  • Product Dimensions: 11 x 2.3 x 17.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 598,157 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"The most brilliant mystery novelist of our time" (Patricia Cornwell)

"Here is Ruth Rendell on such fantastic form that you'll want to stay up all night racing through to the end." (Val Hennessy Daily Mail)

"A powerful and absorbing narrative told with elegance and subtlety" (Daily Telegraph)

"Ruth Rendell is surely one of the greatest novelists presently at work in our language. The extraordinary depth and accuracy of her psychological portraits is matched only by the rare inventiveness of her storytelling" (Scott Turow)

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

Book Description

If murder is all you have ever known, can you resist the temptation to commit the ultimate act of violence? A gripping psychological novel about a twisted mother-daughter relationship, from the world's best mystery writer and author of bestselling crime thrillers, such as Thirteen Steps Down.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Because I am lazy and also can say it no better, by way of a synopsis I am just going to copy from this book's blurb:
"Liza and her mother have led a strange, enclosed life in their remote home, the gatehouse of a country mansion. But now all this must end. Eve has told Liza she must leave. Because Eve has killed a man. And he is not the first.
At seventeen years of age, with £100 in cash, Liza is cast adrift into a terrifying world she has never known. But she is not alone. For there is one secret that she has kept from her mother - her love-affair with Sean, the young man from the big house. With him, Liza gradually learns about the world, about herself, and must come to terms with the possibility that the murderous violence of her mother may also be present in her."
The Crocodile Bird (I love that title) is one of those very curious Rendell titles: one that is more literature than a crime novel, and one that is also very close to the style of the books published under her Barbara Vine name, in that it deals heavily with ideas about the effect of hidden crimes from the past coming to haunt the present. Indeed, this should probably have been published under that other name, so similar is it in style.
If I were forced to pick a favourite title by Rendell...no, strike that. I couldn't possibly choose a favourite. If I were forced to pick a top five, this would unquestionably be in there somewhere. Thinking about it, though, I am finding it hard to elucidate upon exactly why, apart from saying something like, It's brilliant. It is, that is true, but there is far more that can be said about it.
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Format: Unbound
In one of her most "psychological" novels, Ruth Rendell focuses on Liza, a sixteen-year-old girl whose mother, Eve, tells her she must flee alone from the only home she has ever known and her mother's "protection." Home schooled in the remote countryside, kept away from TV and radio, and with no friends of her own, Liza learns that her mother is about to be arrested for murder and that she herself may be considered an accessory if she is caught. Running to her boyfriend Sean, a young man hired to work on the estate where her mother works, Liza unfolds the story of Eve, her mother, through tales she likens to those of Scheherazade, keeping her boyfriend interested in the outcome of her own story by slowly unveiling the details of more than one murder.
As Liza recreates her earliest years and the disappearances of her mother's suitors, she is also exploring her own growing sense of independence, her sexuality, her need to experience the world beyond Shrove House, and her desire for books and serious schooling. Skillfully and subtly, Rendell draws parallels between Liza's motivations and the presumed motivations of the reader, making this strange and limited girl seem more normal, less bizarre, despite her upbringing. Liza's acceptance of the men's fates as a "normal" part of her life, and her ingenuousness, increase the horror and tension.
Rendell's careful rendering of details and her juxtaposition of bloody scenes with idyllic country living make the story come alive, while Liza's normal curiosity about other people and her love of Sean throw her mother's damaged psyche and psychotic need to "protect" herself into sharp relief.
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Comment 7 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Paperback
Because I am lazy and also can say it no better, by way of a synopsis I am just going to copy from this book's blurb:
"Liza and her mother have led a strange, enclosed life in their remote home, the gatehouse of a country mansion. But now all this must end. Eve has told Liza she must leave. Because Eve has killed a man. And he is not the first.
At seventeen years of age, with £100 in cash, Liza is cast adrift into a terrifying world she has never known. But she is not alone. For there is one secret that she has kept from her mother - her love-affair with Sean, the young man from the big house. With him, Liza gradually learns about the world, about herself, and must come to terms with the possibility that the murderous violence of her mother may also be present in her."
The Crocodile Bird (I love that title) is one of those very curious Rendell titles: one that is more literature than a crime novel, and one that is also very close to the style of the books published under her Barbara Vine name, in that it deals heavily with ideas about the effect of hidden crimes from the past coming to haunt the present. Indeed, this should probably have been published under that other name, so similar is it in style.
If I were forced to pick a favourite title by Rendell...no, strike that. I couldn't possibly choose a favourite. If I were forced to pick a top five, this would unquestionably be in there somewhere. Thinking about it, though, I am finding it hard to elucidate upon exactly why, apart from saying something like, It's brilliant. It is, that is true, but there is far more that can be said about it.
Read more ›
Comment 6 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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