In the waning months of the Second World War, a group of children discover an earthen tunnel in their neighborhood outside London. Throughout the summer of 1944 -- until one father forbids it -- the subterranean space becomes their "secret garden," where the friends play games and tell stories.
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RUTH RENDELL is crime fiction at its very best. Her first novel, From Doon With Death, appeared in 1964, and since then her reputation and readership have grown steadily with each new book. In 1996 she was awarded the CBE and in 1997 became a Life Peer. In 2013 she was awarded the Crime Writers' Association Cartier Diamond Dagger for sustained excellence in crime writing. Her books are translated into 21 languages.Review:
“Ruth Rendell’s fiction clusters at such a high level that the best judgment I can render about The Girl Next Door is this: It’s a good Rendell, and that makes it very good indeed.”
—The Washington Post Book World
“One of the finest writers of her time. . . . Her wit, always mordant, has never been sharper than when she skewers patronizing assumptions about the ‘elderly’. . . . Perfect.”
“It’s an image that’s hard to forget: the severed but still clasped hands of two adulterous lovers, buried for years in a cookie tin. That’s Ruth Rendell for you, offering a vision that’s grim, grotesque and yet strangely beautiful. . . . Rendell makes clever work of a split time frame to transport her characters from the past to the present and back again. But her best, most idiosyncratic study is her portrait of the villain of the piece, a wicked man in his youth and an absolute devil in his dotage, determined to live to be 100 out of pure spite.”
—The New York Times Book Review
“Instead of exploring psychopathy as one might have expected, Rendell gives an acutely observed portrayal of old age through her characters' regrets, losses and bewilderment. Her realism renders the novel bleak at times but moving too. Difficult themes such as death, usually dressed up in mystery in a crime novel, are real, hard-hitting and constant.”
—The Guardian (UK)
“A satisfying mystery.”
—The Spectator (UK)
“Using her customary spare yet decorous style and measured pace, Rendell, now in her 80s, beautifully and carefully individualizes each member of her ensemble cast, at the same time creating not a grim reminder of mortality but a picture of moribund lives renewed. A special book by a special writer.”
—Booklist, starred review
“[Rendell] creates another riveting story with her sharp characterizations and keen sense of irony that will keep readers engaged from start to finish. Fans of psychological suspense, along with Rendell’s loyal following, will love this complex story.”
—Library Journal, starred review
“[An] assured novel of psychological suspense. . . . Rendell keeps the plot and the home fires burning.” —Publishers Weekly
“Rendell’s 65th novel shows the incalculable effects of a 70-year-old crime on a group of friends—schoolchildren when it happened, alarmingly unpredictable retirees now. . . . The sedate pace and sociological focus of Rendell’s recent work . . . [is] quickened here by the capacity of her golden agers to act, and act out, in ways as surprising as they are logical.” —Kirkus Reviews“The Girl Next Door is vintage Rendell and a perfect celebration of her half-century. . . . This novel . . . reminded me of the singularity of Ruth Rendell’s talent, her effortless mastery of language and her uncanny genius for mapping a criminal mind.”
—The Times (UK)
“Superb.... Fifty years on, the girl from Essex has become the unchallenged crime queen of suburbia. Her powers of observation are as acute as ever, and she writes about old age with as much gusto as any of the subjects she has tackled in her long career.”
“A joy to read.... Deeply satisfying.”
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