A Fatal Inversion Paperback – 7 May 2009
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'I defy anyone to guess the conclusion, but looking back, the clues are seen to be there, unobtrusively but cunningly planted, so that it seems one should have known all along. The curtain is drawn back to reveal rather than to surprise; a most satisfying end' Daily Telegraph 'An absolute winner, nimbly written with all the Dickensian virtues of vivid characterization, fine prose style and a cunningly devised plot that shifts and twists and keeps you on the edge of your chair' Daily Mail 'The story is brilliant, the ending a perfect bit of irony... Barbara Vine has the kind of near-Victorian narrative drive... that compels a reader to go on turning the pages' - Julian Symons, Sunday Times
"An absolute winner ... a gripping read from start to end" (The Daily Mail)
"Brilliant. Vine has the kind of near-Victorian narrative drive ... that compels a reader to go on turning the pages." (The Sunday Times) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
The book is set in the fabled long hot summer of 1976 it captures that freaky heatwave perfectly. Most of the action takes place in a large remote house deep in East Anglia, unexpectedly bequeathed to Adam, a young student. By a quirk of fate he cancels his planned holiday to Greece and spends the summer in the house with a bunch of friends and hangers on. They plunder the house for antiques and sell them to fund a hedonistic life style. Into their midst they take Zosie, a profoundly disturbed girl and her actions lead to terrible and tragic results. Years later, when Adam and his friends have become upstanding members of society, another quirk of fate reopens the past with all its consequences, To say more might spoil your enjoyment and suspense. I thoroughly recommend it especially for a holiday read. Set thirty plus years ago it still exerts a powerful thrall and does not suffer by being dated. Spellbinding.
The group of young people who come to inhabit `Ecalpemos', a Georgian mansion, inherited from his Great Uncle by 19-year-old Adam Verne-Smith, are by no means likeable characters - hedonistic, selfish, arrogant, manipulative, weak - yet you become intensely caught up in their world and the landscape of their individual psychologies. Then the wheel of fate is set in motion with the arrival of the seemingly mysterious, disturbed and child-like Zosie. Barbara Vine writes about dysfunctional individuals in a unique way that imbues the mundane with chilling significance.
As ever, with Barbara Vine, buildings and landscape take on a dark and sinister aspect, even as the hot summer sun of '76 beats down, and Vine's Suffolk countryside is at times as menacing and uncanny as that of M.R. James. More than just a crime and mystery novel, this book makes you think about human conscience, lack of it, deception, innocence, guilt, and the hard truth that in life, the amoral do not always get their just deserts.
Throughout most of this book we know that a young woman has been murdered, but we do not know which one from among the two in the back story it might be. A clever plot device, as it gets your attention immediately and you are unwilling to miss a word in case it gives a clue to identity.
In the end you know that justice has not been done, but at the same time someone has been justly punished. A riveting and well-wrought read.
[All this being said, this is the only book I have read thus far by Barbara Vine / Ruth Rendell - therefore if there is any repetition in her style, I didn't experience it! I look forward to discovering more of her back catalogue.]
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Really enjoyed this if you like psychological thriller you will not be disappointedPublished 2 months ago by Kindle Customer
Left me completely unable to put it down. The ending was a twist I don't think I will be able to forget any time soonPublished 6 months ago by Aimee
I just love the way vine turns ordinary, dreary-seeming people into evil psychos, hiding their secret pasts. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Mr. A. Hardwicke
Thank you, purchased as a course work book for daughters university course. Excellent delivery.Published 10 months ago by Mrs. Laura Ball
I bought this book after hearing on Woman's Hour that it was her best. I was disappointed. I found it slow to unfold and quite predictable except for the identity of the victim. Read morePublished 10 months ago by sukie1