INCLUDES AN EXCERPT OF RENDELL’S FINAL NOVEL, DARK CORNERS
From crime legend Ruth Rendell, a psychologically intriguing novel about an old murder that sends shockwaves across a group of astonishingly carnal and appetiteful elderly friends: “Refined, probing, and intelligent…never less than a pleasure” (USA TODAY).
In the waning months of the second World War, a group of children discover a tunnel in their neighborhood outside London. For that summer of 1944, the subterranean space becomes their “secret garden,” where the friends play games, tell their fortunes, and perform for each other.
Six decades later, construction workers make a grisly discovery beneath a house on the same land: a tin box containing two skeletal hands, one male and one female. As the hands make national news, the friends come together once again, to recall their long ago days for a detective. Then the police investigation sputters, and the threads holding their friendship together begin to unravel. Is the truth buried amid the tangled relationships of these aging men and women and their memories? Will it emerge before it’s too late?
Stephen King says, “no one surpasses Ruth Rendell when it comes to stories of obsession, instability, and malignant coincidence.” In The Girl Next Door—“yet another gem” (The Washington Post)—Rendell brilliantly shows that the choices people make, and the emotions behind them, remain as potent in late life as they were in youth. “Rendell’s wit, always mordant, has never been sharper than when she skewers patronizing assumptions about the elderly” (Chicago Tribune).
In this assured novel of psychological suspense from Diamond Dagger Award winner Rendell (The St. Zita Society), a gruesome discovery jolts a group of friends and acquaintances who grew up outside London during WWII. Two people's hands severed and interred inside a cookie tin are unearthed at a former construction site where they once hid and schemed. At the center of the now aged clique is the "girl next door," Daphne Jones, ever envied and admired. John "Woody" Winwood, a man whose wife went missing with her lover during the turmoil of the blitzkrieg, is a malevolent presence, past and present, in the story. In contemporary Britain, Winwood's son, Michael, must face his nonagenerian father, who abandoned him decades before and then married into money, inheriting a fortune from his subsequent wives. Rendell keeps the plot and the home fires burning, and the most memorable characters, Daphne and Woody, cast sufficient light to brighten their somewhat dull companions.