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Thirteen Steps Down by [Rendell, Ruth]
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Thirteen Steps Down Kindle Edition

4.2 out of 5 stars 35 customer reviews

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Length: 370 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Product description

Amazon.co.uk Review

Like several of Ruth Rendell's other novels of suspense, Thirteen Steps Down is a book about a couple of murders waiting to happen. Mix Cellini is a half-educated mechanic specializing in exercise machines, who indulges himself in alcohol, self-medication, celebrity-stalking and an obsession with Christie, the Rillington Place murderer. What dooms Cellini, and his victims, is not so much any active principle of evil, as selfishness and a tendency to drift into things that does the job almost as efficiently.

The house where he rents an apartment is a wonderful example of the Bad Place; his eighty-something landlady Gwendolyn is another person who drifts, in her case into nostalgia and slow decay. Mix is a deeply modern monster, but Gwendolyn is one of the proofs that this is not just a bitch at modernity; Mix's potential victim, supermodel Nerissa, is charming, smart and blessed. There are a few too many coincidences here for Thirteen Steps Down to quite make it on to the list of great Rendell--her best books are more tightly constructed--but it is certainly a book which her admirers will want.--Roz Kaveney

Amazon Review

Like several of Ruth Rendell's other novels of suspense, Thirteen Steps Down is a book about a couple of murders waiting to happen. Mix Cellini is a half-educated mechanic specializing in exercise machines, who indulges himself in alcohol, self-medication, celebrity-stalking and an obsession with Christie, the Rillington Place murderer. What dooms Cellini, and his victims, is not so much any active principle of evil, as selfishness and a tendency to drift into things that does the job almost as efficiently.

The house where he rents an apartment is a wonderful example of the Bad Place; his eighty-something landlady Gwendolyn is another person who drifts, in her case into nostalgia and slow decay. Mix is a deeply modern monster, but Gwendolyn is one of the proofs that this is not just a bitch at modernity; Mix's potential victim, supermodel Nerissa, is charming, smart and blessed. There are a few too many coincidences here for Thirteen Steps Down to quite make it on to the list of great Rendell--her best books are more tightly constructed--but it is certainly a book which her admirers will want.--Roz Kaveney


Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1655 KB
  • Print Length: 370 pages
  • Publisher: Cornerstone Digital; TV Tie-In edition (26 Jan. 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0031RS7K4
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars 35 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #200,289 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This was a good read but not particularly satisfying as there were far too many implausible events in the narrative. The recent BBC TV adaptation was more compelling. The title makes little sense to the story line.
Basically a story of a sad individual who is obsessed with John Reginald Christie and the murders he committed. He also becomes obsessed with a beautiful model. He is forced to recreate some of the aspects of Christie's career when he, too, commits murder. Any more detail would act as a spoiler to anyone wanting to read the book. Suffice to say, I found it an ok read but was left disappointed.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
very good read
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By Sarah Hapgood VINE VOICE on 30 Jan. 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
There is a sticker on the front cover of my copy saying "40 page-turning years", now that is an achievement by anyone's standards! Ruth Rendell has written some absoutely superb fiction in that 40 years, novels that are well worth anyone's time. She is one of the few thriller writers around today I can think of whose stories merit reading more than once. Having said that, I've personally felt that she's gone off a bit in recent years. "Adam and Eve Pinch Me" I quite frankly thought was rubbish, and not worthy of her. "The Rottweiler" I tried three times to get into and had to give up. But I was taken with "13 Steps Down" because it was about a young man obsessed with John Christie, the "10 Rillington Place" murderer, and I thought this was an unsual and interesting idea for a story.
Mix Cellini is a loner who has two unhealty obsessions, one with Christie, and another for a top fashion-model, Nerissa Nash. He takes a top-floor flat in a big decaying London house, owned by Miss Gwendolin Chawcer, a reclusive, waspish old lady, who during the course of her long life, has rarely ventured into the outside world, who still carries a torch for a man she barely knew decades before, and who is unceasingly rude to her two kind-hearted, longsuffering chums, Olive and Queenie. This is vintage Rendell territory. Lonely people living in their own fantasy worlds, and having the whole thing spiral painfully out of control. Where this book is truly great are the scenes in Miss Chawcer's house, they are like something out of a black-and-white Hitchcock film. Two eccentric people, of wildly different ages, who hate each other, don't understand each other, and want nothing to do with each other, are forced, through financial constraints, to live under the same roof.
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Format: Paperback
I must compliment Ruth Rendell on an excellent crime novel. She conducts a masterclass in the genre and there are few contemporary writers that can match her skill in developing characters in full three dimensions. No cardbaord cut outs here.

The main characters in the book are certainly not likeable. From the fantasist lodger Mix Cellini his day job exercise equipement technician, who drools over top model Nerissa Nash in his fantasies, thinking he will win her heart.Then there is his equally unlikeable Landlady Gwendolen Chawcer.Then Madam Shoshanna, blowsy mystic and spa owner, Yikes these are creepy people who inhabit morbid inner worlds. In fact the only likeable characters are the VIctim and the lesser supporting characters in the book.

The chapters build slowly and masterfully to a wonder crescendo and finish. I strongly recomend this as good holiday reading. Get it.
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Format: Paperback
Mix Cellini has chosen his place of abode to fall in with his own particular obsession; the deaths and times of the English killer John Christie. This is the murderer's old stomping ground, and if it means living in a draughty old white elephant in the middle of the suburbs with an annoying old woman for a landlord, than so be it. There are other things to do with his time than just devour the many books written about Christie, and to walk the same lanes and alleys that the killer once did. He has plans to move into the life of a beautiful model who lives nearby. Mix is sure that once Nerissa knows him, she will want him just as much, and will soon lift him right up where he believes he belongs.

Gwendolen Chawcer has spent a lifetime in St Blaise House. She used to spend her days looking after her parents, then just her father, and now just only herself. It is a necessary evil that she must take in a lodger, the mostly disagreeable Mix Cellini. Their alliance is an uneasy but necessary arrangement. Miss Chawcer pines for a love lost more than fifty years ago, and upon hearing of the death of the man's wife, she is certain that he will want her in his life. Tiresome to fall ill and have one's friends take over, and they don't trust that strange man upstairs either. He doesn't know that she has a key to his flat, and has smelt a very strange smell coming from upstairs.

If you are into the psychological thrillers that author Ruth Rendell writes under the name of Barbara Vine, "Thirteen Steps Down" is right up your alley. With the action largely being relayed through the movements of your typical Rendell tortured loner, you are treated to witnessing the slow breakdown of an unstable mind.
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