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The Water's Lovely
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"Ruth Rendell is excellent at catatonia. She revels in the menacing potential of stillness, the sinister heft of the inanimate object. In this cool yet engrossing novel, life's miscellanea . . . threaten to unmask awful secrets. The suspense is genteel, but palpable . . . Rendell is in full control of her craft here. She places motives, possibilities, or question marks with forensic precision throughout the story . . . Impressively, she draws characters with great economy, unpicks and sustains them through a well-timed and smoothly executed story." (Sunday Times)
"The quality of the writing is as high as ever, and so too is Rendell's control of the narrative, which sweeps along in short, tart sections." (Spectator)
"Rendell coaxes her horrors along so seductively that all kinds of nastiness seem not only possible, but inevitable" (Literary Review)
"Once again, she has broken with the traditions of crime fiction, that it should engage the mind rather than the emotions" (Sunday Times)
"Ruth Rendell is back to her creepy best. She has always been wonderful at exploring the dark corners of the human mind, and the way private fantasies can clash and explode into terrifying violence" (Daily Mail) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
‘One of her most gleefully energetic efforts. And its powers of description and characterization place it far beyond the limits of a genre novel.’ (The New York Times)
'Rendell’s eerie capacity to comprehend disturbed criminal minds continues to astonish.' (The Times)
'Ruth Rendell is back to her creepy best. She has always been wonderful at exploring the dark corners of the human mind, and the way private fantasies can clash and explode into terrifying violence.' (The Daily Mail) --This text refers to an alternate Audio CD edition.
Top customer reviews
The two sisters Ismay and Heather are the main characters and both are convincing and realistic. What I found particularly interesting is the way my opinions of them changed over the course of the story. Ismay starts out as the normal sister but gradually goes to pieces after she is dumped by her boyfriend. Anyone who has ever been dumped by someone they just could not get over will feel a lot of sympathy for some of the mad and desperate things Ismay does to try and get him back. The other sister Heather, who is a suspected murderer, starts out strange and reclusive but matures into a sensible, loving and determined young woman.
This is not a conventional mystery but then Ruth Rendell is always original and inventive in her psychological thrillers. The main crime in the book is the one Heather may have commited years ago but the novel is still full of suspense as we wait to see if Heather will be exposed and her happiness ruined. There is a big surprise at the end of the novel which is very tragic and the final scene is is ominous and chilling.
Of course tastes differ and all these reviews are just matters of opinion but for what its worth I would recommend this book to any Ruth Rendell fan. I am already looking forward to her next!
I found the interweaving of the characters (their relationships to each other by coincidence; neighbours etc), particularly artificial. Many are one dimensional – Eva for example. And what on earth motivates Andrew? Without giving too much away, he spurns and returns for no apparent reason, as far as I could see. He has not a single virtue. Ismay’s vacillations over him, against her own common sense, are rather spurious when spread over 3 years.
The ‘tape’ which occupies so many pages is of no real relevance. There is no mystery really, and no twists. A childhood incident resolves exactly the way you would expect. No surprises for this reader. By the time you reach the denouement, who cares who did what? The resolution by tsunami was rushed, unnecessary to my mind, and seemed almost a desperate attempt to provide a moralistic judgement after the principal event.
To be honest, I am not sure why I bothered to finish it. Plenty more of her books to choose from though.