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King Solomon's Carpet: Psychological Thriller Paperback – 7 May 2009

3.8 out of 5 stars 26 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin (7 May 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141040432
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141040431
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.2 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 281,555 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Review

'The most brilliant novelist writiing in English today' Daily Telegraph 'The tension grows... an overwhelming sense of foreboding... when the unravelling takes place, it is brilliantly unexpected and original' The Times 'I longed to know what would happen next. Towards the end the tension fairly gets you by the throat' Sunday Express

Review

'The tension grows ... an overwhelming sense of foreboding ... when the unravelling takes place, it is brilliantly unexpected and original.' (The Times)

'I longed to know what would happen next. Towards the end the tension fairly gets you by the throat.' (Sunday Express)

'Vine arouses a genuine fear that all that is normal is in danger of being lost.' (The Sunday Times) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Always loved this dark and disturbing novel... all the flawed characters, the ever present menacing presence of the London Underground and set in recent (1990s) London - recent, but a very different time to today (2017). Like many Barbara Vine novels it is just about everyday life but just before it all goes horribly wrong due to the coming together of the wrong people at the wrong time... believable and chilling.
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Format: Paperback
I’m fairly sure I read something from Ruth Rendell back in my schooldays, so long ago in fact it probably doesn’t count even if I could recall what is was, which I can’t. King Solomon’s Carpet then is my first real taste of her writing.

Although this one won the Gold Dagger back in 1991, there probably isn’t an awful lot of crime within the pages. It’s more a novel of individual characters, including three generations of the one family, crossing paths with others against the backdrop of the London Underground and a former schoolhouse, which now serves as lodgings for some of the cast.

Interspersed in the narrative are facts regarding the Underground, its history and evolution and expansion, from its conception as one man’s idea - Charles Pearson, a Victorian visionary – “A poor man is chained to the spot. He has not the leisure to walk and he has not money to ride a distance to his work.”

I really liked this book, mainly for the characters and the development of the relationships between the main players, as well as the Underground history lesson.

Family;

A grandmother – Cecilia, affluent and a bit judgemental,

A daughter – Tina, carefree with a somewhat feckless attitude to life, easy come, easy go, easy with the men she crosses paths with,

Tina’s two children, one boy one girl;

The girl – Bienvida perceptive to her grandmother’s moods and considerate in her responses regarding her mother, both knowing what lies, both little white ones and those by omission are being told.

The boy – Jasper adventurous, a regular truant and addicted to the thrills of sledging on the London Underground. (Sledging – the art of riding on a tube train’s roof between stations.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
A great book! I do prefer her writing as Barabara Vine rather than Ruth Rendell, it must be said.
This offering is typical of Vine: more than a bit odd, creepy, an exploration of the darker aspects of human nature. It's fantastically well-written, and grabs a hold of you right from the beginning. Vine introduces her characters one by one, and gradually fills in the spaces in between them, all the way up to the very last page, when the whole story falls so perfectly and neatly into place.
It's a chilling tale in parts, one in which London's Tube network becomes a veritable protagonist, a true player in the story. Vine clearly did her homework before creating this fine book, so as to give the reader all the details one needs to *be* there, in the book. Only when one's one imagination can paint a more vivid picture does she merely sketch an outline for the reader to fill in.
I read this book whilst on holiday, enjoying the Maui sun. But it took me all the way to London, to the suburbs, to the bustling Underground stations, and to the frightening darkness of the deep line Tube tunnels. Truly exemplary writing!
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I think this is my favourite Vine novel. From its tragic opening to its end it concerns itself with the people and the places of the London Underground. The often bizarre and pathological relationships between the characters make the book a tense exploration of psychological abnormality,and there's a wonderful eccentricity in the atmosphere that combined with a really original plot development and brilliant ending makes this a great read.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I read it last Xmas and it's a cracker!!! It has all the hallmarks of Vine - weirdness, suspense, ordinary characters doing extraordinary things and she's put a huge amount of research into it. I was hooked from beginning to end. I loved the way it focusses on a lot of characters and their stories are all sort of drawn together. When I say Pulp Fiction on London Underground, that'snot being derogatory...as I'd compare it to Tarrantino's film Pulp Fiction in how the disparate tales come together. I'm a bit biased as I have a love hate relationship with the tube.
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By E M on 25 Nov. 2009
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
I've read pretty well all of the Ruth Rendell novels and most of the Barbara Vines, but having just read this one (it somehow escaped me) I have to say it's really the best Vine book. She's at the height of her powers here, describing London and the underground and all the strange people she's created so beautifully, and at the same time turning up the tension with exquisite timing. If you liked The House Of Stairs, you'll love this, it's actually rather better!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I first borrowed this book from the library and read it when it was published in the early 90's. I would say this was one of my favourite books of all time so I was really looking forward to re-visiting it.

Ruth Rendell writing as Barbara Vine skilfully uses the London Underground as a centre piece and around it weaves a tale of dangerous childhood games,a terrorist plot and an eccentric author writing a book about the history of the Underground system and renting out rooms to a group of very mis-matched people. Fascinating facts and snippets about the tube are masterfully incorporated into the tale and the story ends as chillingly as it started with a Peruvian wedding dress.

Sadly this story has dated due to events which have occurred since it was written and it probably wouldn't appeal to the younger reader. The theme is timeless though and it is an extremely clever, most brilliantly researched story which will always stay in my bookcase.
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