Thursday, May 07, 2015

ruthless people

Chalk up another entry on the list of novelists who have been featured on this blog and subsequently died of shame, or possibly of a nasty case of cancer of the credibility. It was Ruth Rendell this time, an author whose name will draw a blank if you search for it in the book list here, since both of her books that feature on it - A Dark-Adapted Eye and The Blood Doctor - were written under the pseudonym Barbara Vine.

As it happens, while I've read a substantial number of other Vines, I've never read a Rendell either on or off this list. Basically the Rendells, in the main, at least in her early career, were the more orthodox "crime" novels, many of them featuring Inspector Wexford, while the Vines were the darker, stranger psychological dramas not necessarily featuring a "crime" in the usual sense at all.

So the full list now reads as follows:
  • Michael Didbin
  • Beryl Bainbridge
  • Russell Hoban
  • Richard Matheson
  • Elmore Leonard
  • Iain Banks
  • Doris Lessing
  • Gabriel García Márquez
  • Ruth Rendell (aka Barbara Vine)
Both of these best-of-Rendell lists feature a single Vine novel, and in both cases it's A Dark-Adapted Eye. I'm not sure I agree that that's the best one, as excellent as it is, but I'd be hard-pressed to pick a favourite. Start with any of A Fatal Inversion, The Brimstone Wedding, King Solomon's Carpet or No Night Is Too Long and you can't go far wrong.

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