"While we are reading, we are all Don Quixote." ~ Mason Cooley

Monday, February 4, 2013

A Mystery Maven - Ruth Rendell

Someday I may understand why I suddenly go on a binge of murder mysteries - there may be none for months and then, a half dozen in a row.  This time, four Ruth Rendell novels in two weeks!

Baroness Rendell is my second favorite English mystery author, second only to her good friend, P. D. James.  Like James, Rendell is a prolific writer of psychological thrillers, whose characters are etched in shades of gray and whose plots are clever and engrossing. Articulate, without being affected; murder, without mayhem, undue violence or gratuitous sex; an easy, but not simple, read.

Now in her 80's, she is still writing, with a new novel to be published this year.  With over 20 novels that feature the popular Chief Inspector Reginald Wexford and an interesting cast of family and colleagues, and over 20 stand alone mysteries, plus a series written under her alternate ego, Barbara Vine, I doubt I will ever exhaust the supply of her writing...thankfully.

Although I typically prefer to read a series in chronological order, I have not done so with Rendell's, jumping across decades and mixing the Wexford novels with a few stand alones; I can truthfully say I've never been disappointed.  The four this binge have been Simisola (1995), The Veiled One (1988), Best Man to Die (1969) and Guilty Thing Surprised (1970). My favorite - Simisola.


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