A tragic accident. A blackmail plot. A house of cards.
In his late father's house, Carl finds a hoard of pills, 'wonder drugs' and herbal remedies. He sells a box of slimming pills to his close friend Stacey.
And Carl's new tenant is now scheming to blackmail him, imposing more and more demands on an increasingly unstable Carl, pushing him to the point of no return...
Ruth Rendell's final novel is a dark and atmospheric tale of psychological suspense, full of mistaken identity, kidnap, blackmail, and a cast of normal people driven to do abnormal things. Infused with her distinctive blend of wry humour, acute observation and deep humanity, this is Rendell at her most memorable and best.
MWA Grand Master Rendell (1930 2015) often explored the lives of the luckless who are dogged by disastrous coincidence. In this, her final book, writer Carl Martin is one such hapless fellow. Carl inherits a choice townhouse in London's chic Maida Vale neighborhood. He's cash-poor while pounding out his second novel, so he rents the upper floor to a predatory tenant, Dermot McKinnon. A pious icicle, Dermot believes that Carl's stock of homeopathic medicines may have figured in the death of a friend of Carl's, 24-year-old TV actress Stacey Warren. Soon, Carl is fending off two blackmailers. As always in Rendell's work, the thoughtless and obtuse sow chaos for the careful and sensitive, and London shines as a strong presence. This is a beguiling, powerful novel, made poignant by the staggering realization that this is the last of a feast of characters and narratives. Everything that makes Rendell's work so memorable gothic but believable people and plots, simple yet vivid prose, peerlessly rendered settings, and fear and despair as the twin "parents" of violence is in evidence here. Readers may sigh along with one of the characters, when, in the last sentence, he remarks, "And now, now it's all over."
Customer ReviewsSee All
Brilliant read !
Probably the best book or very close to the best book she's ever written !