The Child's Child is the new crime novel by bestselling, prize-winning author Barbara Vine, pen-name for the late bestselling author Ruth Rendell
What sort of betrayal would drive a brother and sister apart?
When Grace and her brother Andrew inherit their grandmother's house, they surprise few people by deciding to move in together. But they've always got on well and the London house is large enough to split down the middle.
There's just one thing they've not taken into account though. What if one of them wants to bring a lover to the house? When Andrew's partner James moves in, and immediately picks a fight about the treatment of gay men, the balance is altered - with almost fatal consequences.
Barbara Vine's is the pen-name of Ruth Rendell, and The Child's Child is the first book she has published under that name since The Birthday Present in 2008. It's an intriguing examination of betrayal in families, and of those two once-unmentionable subjects, illegitimacy and homosexuality. A taut, thrilling read, it will be enjoyed by readers of P.D. James and Ian Rankin.
'The Rendell/Vine partnership has for years been producing consistently better work than most Booker winners put together' Ian Rankin
'She deploys her peerless skills in blending the mundane, commonplace aspects of life with the murky impulses of desire and greed.
Ruth rendall has published fourteen novels under the Vine name, two of which, Fatal Inversion and King Solomon's Carpet, won the prestigious Crime Writers' Association Gold Dagger Award. Also available in Penguin by Barbara Vine: The Minotaur, The Blood Doctor, Grasshopper, The Chimney Sweeper's Boy, The Brimstone Wedding, No Night is Too Long, Asta's Book, King Solomon's Carpet, Gallowglass, The House of Stairs, A Dark-Adapted Eye.
Parallel plots pivot around pregnant, unmarried women living with their gay brothers in this compelling novel from Vine (the pen name of Ruth Rendell). Grace and Andrew Eaton share a house in contemporary London, while Maud and John Goodwin are tucked away in a village in western England during the period between the world wars. Each woman tussles with the mores of her era and with her brother's difficult boyfriend: Grace scraps with persnickety novelist James Derain, and Maud with lout Bertie Webber. Vine dissects the roots of homophobia in gay and straight alike, by period, virulence, and class. Homophobia in a moment of pique is what causes the novel's most crucial murder. The Child's Child is the title of a manuscript Grace reads, a roman clef relating Maud's life that forms the central narrative. The quintessential narcissist, Maud ruminates about insults the way biblical scholars dwell on ancient texts. Vine excels at depicting such characters and succeeds in making them believable and bearable. Though not as vivid as Vine's previous book, The Birthday Present (2008), this elegant offering clicks along like a well-tuned glockenspiel.
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The Child's Child
Brilliant book. Had to keep reading as the plot was so gripping.