A Guilty Thing Surprised Audio CD – Abridged, Audiobook, CD
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"One of the best novelists writing today" (P.D. James)
"Ruth Rendell has quite simply transformed the genre of crime writing. She displays her peerless skill in blending the mundane, commonplace aspects of life with the potent murky impulses of desire and greed, obsession and fear" (Sunday Times)
"Rendell never fails to come up trumps, and her millions of admirers will eagerly consume this offering as they have all the others." (The Irish Times)
"A firm grasp of social concerns ensure that her novels are reflective of our own times, as well as hugely absorbing." (Louise Welsh The Times)
"This is Rendell on cracking form, with the entire accoutrements one expects from her." (The Good Book Guide) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
The fifth book in the bestselling Detective Chief Inspector Wexford series. Perfect for both collectors and new fans of award-winning crime novelist Ruth Rendell, who has written classic detective fiction and gripping psychological thrillers including End in Tears and Thirteen Steps Down. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.See all Product description
Top customer reviews
Elizabeth Nightingale - the rich man's wife - is found murdered - the usual suspects abound - the seemingly uxurious husband, the disgruntled gardener - but we are in Ruth Rendell country, and nothing is ever quite what it seems!
The author seems to be able to ally the normal problems that the main protagonists deal with and the same sort of problem, spiraling out of control in the hands of the deeply disturbed. Vintage Ruth Rendell!
This time Wexford is investigating the murder of Elizabeth Nightingale, living a dull, well-off life in the country with her husband Quentin. Their marriage is completely passionless and sexless, but someone reacts violently enough to Elizabeth to murder her on one of her evening walks in the forest. Then along come Detectives Wexford and Burden to crack the case and drag up the psychology behind the characters.
Perhaps one of the reasons why I’m not raving about this novel is because the type of characters shown in it are my least favourite – a wealthy upper class couple, their servants and wealthy, upper class friends. I much prefer a detective novel that focuses on normal people rather than the Master and Mistress of the house and their stereotypical rough and uneducated working class servants. This certainly isn’t a side of England that I recognise anymore and Rendell’s newer Wexford novels reflect this, tending to focus on all different kinds of people in the social scale without being stereotypical. One of my favourite characters was Sean Lovell, whose thwarted ambitions to become a singer were strangely touching, particularly when Wexford overhears him pretending to be a popstar in his shed (we’ve all done it, haven’t we? :-) )
The novel also looks at what it means to be a woman in 1970s Britain. Unfortunately, the females in this novel are probably the weakest characters, such as a housewife who has given up her job to devote herself to her husband who doesn’t really seem to like her anyway and a rather silly Swedish au pair. One of the themes of the book seems to be ‘what makes a good woman?’. What strikes me is that in this book the men act pretty much as they like without anybody commenting on their behaviour, but every aspect of each woman is judged and examined. It made interesting, if frustrating, reading.
Overall, a good book with a brilliant ending. Due to the publication date of this novel (early 70s) it is rather old-fashioned, but the psychology is still relevant.
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