Rendell, Ruth, Baroness of Babergh 1930–
Rendell, Ruth, Baroness of Babergh 1930–
(Ruth Barbara Grasemann, Barbara Vine)
Born February 17, 1930, in London, England; daughter of Arthur (a teacher) and Ebba (a teacher) Grasemann; married Donald Rendell, 1950 (divorced, 1975; remarried, 1977; deceased, c. 1999); children: Simon. Education: Educated in Essex, England. Hobbies and other interests: Reading, walking, opera.
Home—London, England. Agent—PFD, Drury House, 34-43 Russell St., London WC2B 5HA, England.
Writer, novelist, short-story writer, and journalist. Express and Independent Newspapers, West Essex, England, reporter and subeditor for the Chigwell Times, 1948-52. Member of British House of Lords.
Edgar Allan Poe Award, Mystery Writers of America, 1975, for story "The Fallen Curtain," 1976, for collection The Fallen Curtain and Other Stories, 1984, for story "The New Girlfriend," and 1986, for novel A Dark-Adapted Eye; Gold Dagger Award, Crime Writers Association, 1977, for A Demon in My View, 1986, for Live Flesh, and 1987, for A Fatal Inversion; British Arts Council bursary, 1981; British Arts Council National Book Award, 1981, for The Lake of Darkness; Popular Culture Association Award, 1983; Silver Dagger Award, Crime Writers Association, 1984, for The Tree of Hands; Angel Award for fiction, 1988, for The House of Stars; Sunday Times award for Literary Excellence, 1990; Gold Dagger Award, Crime Writers Association, 1991, for King Solomon's Carpet; Cartier Diamond Dagger Award for a lifetime's achievement in the field, Crime Writers Association, 1991; named Commander of the British Empire, 1996; Grand Master Award, Mystery Writers of America, 1997; named Baroness Rendell of Babergh, 1997; Mystery Ink Gumshoe Award for Lifetime Achievement, 2004; Crime Writers Association; Sunday Times Literary Award.
To Fear a Painted Devil, Doubleday (Garden City, NY), 1965.
Vanity Dies Hard, John Long (London, England), 1966, published as In Sickness and in Health, Doubleday (Garden City, NY), 1966.
The Secret House of Death, John Long (London, England), 1968, Doubleday (Garden City, NY), 1969.
One Across, Two Down, Doubleday (Garden City, NY), 1971.
The Face of Trespass, Doubleday (Garden City, NY), 1974.
A Demon in My View, Doubleday (Garden City, NY), 1977.
A Judgment in Stone, Hutchinson (London, England), 1977, Doubleday (Garden City, NY), 1978.
Make Death Love Me, Doubleday (Garden City, NY), 1979.
The Lake of Darkness, Doubleday (Garden City, NY), 1980.
Master of the Moor, Pantheon (New York, NY), 1982.
The Killing Doll, Pantheon (New York, NY), 1984.
The Tree of Hands, Pantheon (New York, NY), 1984.
Live Flesh, Pantheon (New York, NY), 1986.
Heartstones, Harper (New York, NY), 1987.
Talking to Strangers, Hutchinson (London, England), 1987, published as Talking to Strange Men, Pantheon (New York, NY), 1987.
The Bridesmaid, Mysterious Press (New York, NY), 1989.
Going Wrong, Mysterious Press (New York, NY), 1990.
The Crocodile Bird, Crown (New York, NY), 1993.
Ginger and the Kingsmarkham Chalk Circle, Phoenix (London, England), 1996.
The Keys to the Street, Random House (New York, NY), 1996.
Bloodlines: Long and Short Stories, Wheeler (Rockland, MA), 1997.
Whydunit (Perfectly Criminal 2), Severn House (London, England), 1997.
Thornapple, Travelman (London, England), 1998.
A Sight for Sore Eyes: A Novel, Crown (New York, NY), 1999.
Adam and Eve and Pinch Me, Crown (New York, NY), 2001.
The Rottweiler, Crown (New York, NY), 2004.
Thirteen Steps Down, Crown Publishers (New York, NY), 2004.
The Water's Lovely, Crown Publishers (New York, NY), 2007.
"INSPECTOR WEXFORD" SERIES; MYSTERY NOVELS
From Doon with Death (also see below), John Long (London, England), 1964, Doubleday (Garden City, NY), 1965.
Wolf to the Slaughter, John Long (London, England), 1967, Doubleday (Garden City, NY), 1968.
A New Lease of Death (also see below), Doubleday (Garden City, NY), 1967, published as Sins of the Fathers, Ballantine (New York, NY), 1970.
The Best Man to Die, John Long (London, England), 1969, Doubleday (Garden City, NY), 1970.
A Guilty Thing Surprised, Doubleday (Garden City, NY), 1970.
No More Dying Then, Hutchinson (London, England), 1971, Doubleday (Garden City, NY), 1972.
Murder Being Once Done, Doubleday (Garden City, NY), 1972.
Some Lie and Some Die, Doubleday (Garden City, NY), 1973.
Shake Hands Forever, Doubleday (Garden City, NY), 1975.
A Sleeping Life, Doubleday (Garden City, NY), 1978.
Put On by Cunning, Hutchinson (London, England), 1981, published as Death Notes, Pantheon (New York, NY), 1981.
The Speaker of Mandarin, Pantheon (New York, NY), 1983.
An Unkindness of Ravens, Pantheon (New York, NY), 1985.
The Veiled One, Pantheon (New York, NY), 1988.
Kissing the Gunner's Daughter, Mysterious Press (New York, NY), 1992.
Simisola, Random House (New York, NY), 1995.
Road Rage, Crown (New York, NY), 1997.
Harm Done, Crown (New York, NY), 1999.
The Babes in the Wood, Crown (New York, NY), 2002.
End in Tears, Crown (New York, NY), 2006.
The Fallen Curtain and Other Stories, Hutchinson (London, England), 1976, published as The Fallen Curtain: Eleven Mystery Stories by an Edgar Award-Winning Writer, Doubleday (Garden City, NY), 1976.
Means of Evil and Other Stories, Hutchinson (London, England), 1979, published as Five Mystery Stories by an Edgar Award-Winning Writer, Doubleday (Garden City, NY), 1980.
The Fever Tree and Other Stories, Hutchinson (London, England), 1982, Pantheon (New York, NY), 1983, published as The Fever Tree and Other Stories of Suspense, Ballantine (New York, NY), 1984.
The New Girlfriend and Other Stories, Hutchinson (London, England), 1985, published as The New Girlfriend and Other Stories of Suspense, Pantheon (New York, NY), 1986.
(Editor) A Warning to the Curious: The Ghost Stories of M.R. James, Hutchinson (London, England), 1986.
Collected Short Stories, Hutchinson (London, England), 1987, published as Collected Stories, Pantheon (New York, NY), 1988.
The Copper Peacock and Other Stories, Mysterious Press (New York, NY), 1991.
Blood Lines: Long and Short Stories, Crown (New York, NY), 1996.
Piranha to Scurfy and Other Stories, Vintage (New York, NY), 2002.
Contributor of short stories to Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine.
UNDER PSEUDONYM BARBARA VINE
A Dark-Adapted Eye, Viking (New York, NY), 1985.
A Fatal Inversion, Bantam (New York, NY), 1987.
(With others) Yes, Prime Minister: The Diaries of the Right Honorable James Hacker, Salem House Publishers, 1988.
The House of Stairs, Harmony Books (New York, NY), 1989.
Gallowglass, Harmony Books (New York, NY), 1990.
King Solomon's Carpet, Harmony Books (New York, NY), 1992.
Anna's Book, Harmony Books (New York, NY), 1993.
No Night Is Too Long, Harmony Books (New York, NY), 1994.
The Brimstone Wedding, Harmony Books (New York, NY), 1996.
The Chimney Sweeper's Boy, Harmony Books (New York, NY), 1998.
Grasshopper, Harmony Books (New York, NY), 2000.
The Blood Doctor, Shaye Areheart Books (New York, NY), 2002.
The Minotaur, Shaye Areheart Books (New York, NY), 2005.
"People Don't Do Such Things," Tales of the Unexpected, Independent Television (ITV), 1985.
(With Colin Ward) Undermining the Central Line, Chatto & Windus (London, England), 1989.
(With photographs by Paul Bowden) Ruth Rendell's Suffolk (nonfiction), Hutchinson (London, England), 1992.
(Editor) The Reason Why: An Anthology of the Murderous Mind, Crown (New York, NY), 1996.
Contributor to anthologies, including Haunted Houses: The Greatest Stories, edited by Martin H. Greenberg, 1983; Haunting Women, edited by Alan Ryan, Avon Books (New York, NY), 1988; Scare Care, edited by Graham Masterson, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1989; The New Gothic: A Collection of Contemporary Gothic Fiction, edited by Patrick McGrath and Bradford Morrow, Random House (New York, NY), 1991; I Shudder at Your Touch, edited by Michelle Slung, ROC (New York, NY), 1992; Little Deaths, edited by Ellen Datlow, Dell (New York, NY), 1995; Crossing the Border: Tales of Erotic Ambiguity, edited by Lisa Tuttle, 1998; The Mammoth Book of 20th Century Ghost Stories, edited by Peter Haining, Carroll & Graf (New York, NY), 1998; Mistresses of the Dark: Twenty-Five Macabre Tales by Master Storytellers, edited by Stefan R. Dziemianowicz, Denise Little, and Robert E. Weinberg, 1998; and The Mammoth Book of Haunted House Stories, edited by Peter Haining, Carroll & Graf (New York, NY), 2000.
Author's works have been translated into fourteen languages.
A Judgment in Stone was filmed as The Housekeeper, Rawfilm/Schulz Productions, 1987; several of Rendell's Wexford mysteries have been adapted for British television and subsequently aired on the Arts and Entertainment network's "Masters of Mystery" series; numerous Ruth Rendell and Barbara Vine short stories and novels have been adapted to film and television as stand-alone programs and as part of the "Ruth Rendell Mysteries" series, including An Affair in Mind, 1988, A Guilty Thing Surprised, 1988, Shake Hands Forever, 1988, Tree of Hands, 1989, No More Dying Then, 1989, The Veiled One, 1989, The Best Man to Die, 1990, Put on by Cunning, 1990, A New Lease of Death, 1991, Murder Being Once Done, 1991, From Doon with Death, 1991, Talking to Strange Men, 1992, A Fatal Inversion, 1992, The Speaker of Mandarin, 1992, Kissing the Gunner's Daughter, 1992, Gallowglass, 1993, Vanity Dies Hard, 1995, The Secret House of Death, 1996, Simisola, 1996, Road Rage, 1998, Lake of Darkness, 1999, The Fallen Curtain, 1999, Harm Done, 2000, and No Night is Too Long, 2002.
Ruth Rendell is a prolific author who, writing under her own name and the pseudonym Barbara Vine, has enthralled both the general public and literary critics with her skillfully written mysteries and suspenseful stories. She has the ability, according to Dictionary of Literary Biography contributor Patricia A. Gabilondo, to render tales that could be considered formulaic, into something "always suspenseful and viscerally compelling." In her first novel, the author introduced Chief Inspector Reginald Wexford, a proper Englishman whose town of Kingsmarkham, Sussex, is plagued by many murders. Wexford has been the subject of numerous sequels and has won much praise for his creator for the deft characterizations, clever plots, and surprising endings that mark these books. While the Wexford books are straightforward police procedural novels, the books Rendell publishes under the Vine pseudonym are more gothic, often involving twisted psychology to produce edgy thrillers. David Lehman of Newsweek commented that "few detective writers are as good at pulling such last-second rabbits out of their top hats—the last page making us see everything before it in a strange, new glare."
Rendell's Wexford character is middle-aged, happily married, and the father of two grown daughters. His extensive reading allows him to quote from a wide range of literature during his murder investigations, but despite his erudition, Wexford is not cynical, eccentric, or misanthropic as are many literary detectives. His well-adjusted manner serves as contrast to the many strange mysteries he investigates. Social differences are frequently illuminated in these mysteries, and Rendell has been singled out as particularly skillful at portraying England's social stratification, even in the details of her descriptions of architectural features. Gabilondo mused: "Her meticulous description of setting serves to create atmosphere and, more important, to communicate the intimate relation between the physical and the psychological, especially in terms of the way that landscapes, whether urban or rural, take on the imprints of sociological change and personal conflict."
Wexford is also notable for his philosophical turn of mind and his keen empathy for his fellow man, in whatever the circumstances. His sensitivity makes him quite desirable to the women he encounters, yet Wexford remains determinedly devoted to his wife. Wexford's greatest disdain is for the "inanities of modernity," wrote Gabilondo. "Through Wexford's often ironic eye, Rendell paints a remarkably specific portrait of the changes that have occurred in English life—the encroachment of suburban sprawl, the banal homogenization of consumer culture, the dispossessed youth, the problems with unemployment, and the growing complexities of civil bureaucracies. Able to see both sides of any issue, as well as to grasp the essential poignancy of the human condition, Wexford finds himself often at odds with his official role, for his reliance on intuition and the imagination usually runs counter to the official line, offering a rich resource of dramatic tension," concluded Gabilondo. Wexford's open-mindedness is contrasted with the more narrow vision and rigid morality of his partner, Inspector Michael Burden. Unlike many series characters, Wexford and Burden age and go through many significant changes as the series progresses.
Rendell's early Wexford mysteries dealt frequently with desire and taboo, while in her later books she takes on social issues in a more direct manner. Feminism, ecoterrorism, and other modern concerns are examined, not always in a flattering light. In A Sleeping Life, gender-identity conflicts figure prominently in the murder case, while Wexford's daughter becomes involved in a radical feminist group. Rendell actually drew the ire of real-life feminist groups after the publication of An Unkindness of Ravens, which features a man-hating group called Action for the Radical Reform of Intersexual Attitudes (ARRIA). Members of the group vow to carry weapons and refrain from marriage; it even seems that some members advocate the murder of a man as an initiation rite. The author also ruffled feathers with Kissing the Gunner's Daughter, which challenges the popular notion that class stratification is much less meaningful in Britain than it has been in the past. Racism is addressed in Simisola, another Wexford novel; the problems of urban and suburban sprawl are considered in Road Rage; and the subject of wife-beating is approached in Harm Done.
The Babes in the Wood finds Inspector Wexford on the trail of teenage brother and sister Giles and Sophie Dade, who have come up missing, along with their babysitter, Joanna Troy, after heavy storms and torrential rains flood the Sussex countryside. Fears arise that the trio died in the floodwaters, but when the babysitter's body is discovered alone in her car, there is reason to hope that the children are still alive. As time passes, the likelihood of finding them alive grows dimmer, until the sudden and unexpected reappearance of the girl. Her return prompts as many questions as it answers, particularly where she has been and what has happened to her brother. Wexford's investigation reveals dreadful family secrets, shocking revelations about Giles and Sophie, and answers that are not revealed until the book's final pages. Throughout, "Rendell's gift for intelligent, coolheaded storytelling remains undiminished," commented Mark Harris in Entertainment Weekly.
End in Tears explores the sometimes criminal lengths that hopeful parents will go to in order to conceive, find, or acquire a child. Rendell also delineates the predatory element that will manipulate and exploit this primal desire for offspring. Teenage mother Amber Marshalson is found dead outside her home, her head bashed in with a brick. Sometime later, her pregnant friend Megan Bartlow is killed in a dingy row house. Inspector Wexford, dismayed by the moral decay he sees represented by the burgeoning numbers of teen pregnancies, steps in to investigate the murders of the young women. Suspicion focuses on several potential murderers, including a pair of sinister twins, a heavily tattooed and pierced ex-boyfriend, and a tall, thin man in a hooded jacket. Even Amber's grieving father, her hostile stepmother, and the wealthy parents of her baby's father are not above suspicion. Complicating Wexford's attitude in the case is his daughter Sylvia's willingness to serve as surrogate mother for her exhusband Neil and his new wife Naomi. In this book, Rendell still "proves a master at rendering the joys and sorrows of human relationships," stated Booklist reviewer Allison Block. A Kirkus Reviews critic called the story "average for Rendell's distinguished list of whodunits, which makes it just a whisker below state of the art."
Various types of psychological torment are central in Rendell's other books. A Judgment in Stone portrays an illiterate woman whose inability to read has led to a life of shame, isolation, and regression. The Killing Doll features Dolly Yearman, a schizophrenic whose delusions eventually lead her to murder. Live Flesh is told from the point of view of a convicted murderer and rapist, who lives in a strange symbiotic relationship with the police officer he crippled with a gunshot wound. In The Bridesmaid, the Pygmalion myth is turned inside out as a beautiful girl is shown to be marred by her mental instability. Despite her flaws, she becomes the object of sexual obsession for Philip; eventually, she brings him to the brink of murder. One of the author's most ambitious novels is The Keys to the Street, which uses the concentric circles and paths of London's Regent Park to follow the interconnected threads of human lives, particularly that of a well-to-do man who lives on the streets in the wake of a family tragedy and a young woman struggling to assert her independence. Although it may be the author's "most compassionate and most complex treatment of the human condition," according to Gabilondo, it left "most reviewers disappointed in her failure to bring all the strands together. The effectiveness of the structure, however, lies in this intentional failure to make everything connect. In Rendell's psychological thrillers, those avenues of emotional connection, like the misaligned arcs of Regent's Park, often do not meet, frustrating the hopes and dreams of her characters' lives." A very positive assessment of the book was offered by Emily Melton in Booklist, however; she wrote that it is "at once tragic, shocking, satisfying, and hopeful," and added: "Without a doubt, Rendell ranks with today's finest writers, and this book is one of her best…. Superbly written and beautifully constructed, the story is unique, powerful, and provocative."
Adam and Eve and Pinch Me is a "gem from the British master," wrote a Publishers Weekly reviewer, filled with characters "so vivid they live beyond the frame of the novel." At the center of the plot is Minty Knox, a woman in her thirties who works in a dry-cleaners and is obsessed with germs and cleanliness. Her hygiene phobias, as well as the ghosts she imagines she sees, figure prominently in a plot that is "intricate but brisk," according to the writer, "a literary page-turner, both elegant and accessible." Booklist reviewer Connie Fletcher called the book "madly absorbing," and advised: "Rendell's characters are fully drawn, and we become completely caught up in their struggles." Discussing her writing with a Publishers Weekly interviewer, Rendell commented: "I do write about obsession, but I don't think I have an obsession for writing. I'm not a compulsive writer. I like to watch obsession in other people, watch the way it makes them behave."
The Rottweiler focuses on a bestial serial killer stalking the streets of London, garroting his victims and stealing small keepsake items from their bodies. The killer earned his sobriquet from bite marks on the neck of his first victim, which he is chagrined to note were not inflicted by him. When items taken from the killer's victims begin to surface in Inez Ferry's antique shop, the police believe that the killer is one of the several boarders living in rooms above the shop. However, their investigation fails to uncover which of the eccentric residents shares his or her skin with the brutal Rottweiler. "The various characters involved including Inez herself are … brilliantly drawn," remarked Antonia Fraser in Spectator. When Rendell reveals the Rottweiler's identity a third of the way through the book, the reader's relationship with the story changes to one of knowledge tinged with dread, waiting for the killer to strike again while hoping the authorities will make an arrest before more victims die. Entertainment Weekly reviewer Tina Jordan called the novel "classic Rendell, macabre and fast-paced." The novel is "unusually three-dimensional for a mystery novel, with a set of characters who engage interest on their own merits," remarked Janet Maslin in the New York Times Book Review. "Whether they turn out to be linked to the Rottweiler's evil streak is almost a secondary matter," Maslin observed. Orlando Sentinel reviewer Ann Hellmuth concluded: "Ruth Rendell is the perfect storyteller, never resorting to cliches and tired formats but transfixing and enthralling with intelligent writing, clever plotting, and character development."
Obsession fuels the pathological behaviors of the characters in Thirteen Steps Down. Mix Cellini is an exercise-machine repairman who nurses twin obsessions: one for local supermodel Nerissa Nash, who he believes will eventually marry him, and one for another local hero, serial killer Harold Christie. Mix rents an attic room from bitter, snobbish widow Gwendolen Chawcer, who has seen her better days along with St. Blaise House, her crumbling London mansion. Gwendolen nurses a long-time obsession of her own, a romantic attachment to Dr. Stephen Reeves, who treated her dying mother 1953 and who courted her for a bit. She has not seen Reeves in almost a half century, but when she learns that his wife has died, she foresees a reunion that Reeves does not expect. Mix and Gwendolen thoroughly despise each other, but their animosity adds a frisson to their embattled relationship that mutual respect or affection would not provide. Within this volatile psychological atmosphere, madness will arise, control will be lost, and murders will occur. New York Times Book Review critic Marilyn Stasio called the book a "profoundly unnerving psychological suspense novel about a young man gripped by obsessions that can lead only to madness and murder." Rendell's novel offers "vivid characters, a plot addictive as crack, and a sense of place unequaled in crime fiction," remarked a Publishers Weekly critic.
In addition to her many novels, Rendell is also the author of numerous well-received short stories that have appeared in anthologies and collections over the years. The Copper Peacock and Other Stories "delights with its fine-tuned psychological effects," commented a Publishers Weekly reviewer. In the book's title story, Bernard is a writer who borrows a friend's apartment to find the solitude needed to work on a book. He takes an interest in the lovely Judy, the maid who cleans the apartment and fixes his lunch. Curiously, she exhibits increasingly severe bruises and injuries as time goes on, and Bernard is stunned when she gives him an ugly but expensive peacock-shaped bookmark. The story's "denouement is a master stroke," the Publishers Weekly critic stated. "The Fish Sitter" posits human prey for the dwellers in an aquarium. A cat-based mystery finds a regal feline ascending to her proper place in the royal hierarchy after the death of another cat. In "Mother's Help," a handsome and charming father enlists his children's help in disposing of unwanted wives. Chief Inspector Wexford appears in "An Unwanted Woman," wherein he tries to help a moody and unnerving teenage runaway.
"Rendell is one of the finest writers of our time," stated Booklist reviewer Emily Melton, and her story collection Blood Lines: Long and Short Stories, is "a must-have collection by one of the world's most talented authors," Melton concluded. Rendell explores a wide field of psychological aberration in the stories, including the shame that results from obsession in "Clothes," the search for love and companionship in "The Strawberry Tree," and anger resulting from damaged egos in "The Man Who Was the God of Love." She uncovers the humanity inherent in her characters, but does not shy away from the inhumanity that sometimes dwells deep within as well. "For all the stories' differences, however, Rendell's hand remains rock-steady throughout," observed Pam Lambert in a People review. A Publishers Weekly critic noted that in these stories, "Rendell's deft touch and keen insight (and sometimes wry wit) can wring abject horror from even the smallest vignette."
With the books written under her penname of Barbara Vine, Rendell manages to "escape the strictures of the detective novel and concentrate on the darker peculiarities of human nature," observed Katie Owen in New Statesman. In The Blood Doctor, for example, Martin Nanther, a biographer and once the fourth Lord Nanther, undertakes a biography of his great-grandfather Henry, the first Lord Nanther, who was awarded a hereditary peerage by Queen Victoria in recognition for his research into hemophilia and his services as royal physician. Martin's life is complicated by the recent loss of the privileges and benefits of his title when the House of Lords opts to eliminate hereditary peerages. As the novel progresses, Martin learns that he and his wife's failure to conceive a child is the result of faulty genes, and that if they want to have a child, they will have to turn to modern science and genetic manipulation to create a baby designed to their specifications. Meanwhile, his research uncovers numerous unpleasant things about his great-grandfather Henry, the "architect of a crime that has outlived him for generations," and parallels with his own life and marital troubles, according to a Kirkus Reviews writer, who named the book a "dense, dazzling exploration of the biographer as detective, and of the truism that blood will tell."
In The Minotaur, also written under the Vine pseudonym, young Swedish nurse Kerstin Kvist is hired to care for John Cosway, a once-brilliant mathematical genius who has seemingly succumbed to schizophrenia. Living with John at Lydstep Old Hall is his harridan mother and four odious middle-aged sisters. As Kerstin interacts with John, she begins to realize that his troubles are not caused by mental illness, but by heavy doses of brain-addling drugs. John, she finds, is the owner of Lydstep Old Hall, and it behooves the mother and sisters to keep him incapacitated so that they can continue to live there as long as they wish. A considerable sum of money is also tied up in John's name. A plot is underway, she realizes, to strip John Cosway of his rightful home and fortune, and soon this plot brings murder down to Lydstep. Booklist reviewer Connie Fletcher called the novel "very satisfying reading." A Kirkus Reviews critic stated: "Using the conventions of a Victorian pastiche, Vine presents as satisfying a family of monsters as you're likely to find. It's like watching a house of cards collapse in exquisite slow-motion." Vine, concluded Detroit Free Press critic Ron Bernas, "is one of the best, a writer of literate thrillers that never fail to draw in readers, even though they know where she's going."
Gabilondo concluded: "Rendell's greatest contribution, in addition to her gifts as a storyteller, has been to track the social and the psychological circulation of that vast system—political, familial, cultural, and genetic—in which people are forced to play out their lives, through a body of work that takes readers not into the cozy drawing rooms of traditional English mystery but into the lives and psyches of men and women in a vividly contemporary Britain."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Contemporary Literary Criticism, Thomson Gale (Detroit, MI), Volume 28, 1984, Volume 48, 1988, Volume 50, 1988.
Dictionary of Literary Biography, Thomson Gale (Detroit, MI), Volume 87: British Mystery and Thriller Writers since 1940, 1989, Volume 276: British Mystery and Thriller Writers since 1960, 2003.
Mystery and Suspense Writers: The Literature of Crime, Detection, and Espionage, Scribner (New York, NY), 1998.
Advertiser (Adelaide, Australia), July 27, 2002, Katharine England, review of The Blood Doctor, p. W13.
America's Intelligence Wire, December 9, 2005, Jill Lawless, "Queen of Suspense Ruth Rendell Tackles Celebrity and Murder in Thirteen Steps Down," profile of Ruth Rendell.
Antioch Review, winter, 1997, review of The Keys to the Street, p. 122.
Belles Lettres: A Review of Books by Women, spring, 1994, Lorraine E. McCormack, review of The Crocodile Bird, p. 13.
Booklist, December 1, 1994, Emily Melton, review of No Night is Too Long, p. 635; October 1, 1995, Emily Melton, review of The Brimstone Wedding, p. 213; March 1, 1996, Emily Melton, review of Blood Lines: Long and Short Stories, p. 1077; August, 1996, Emily Melton, review of The Keys to the Street, p. 1856; August, 1997, Emily Melton, review of Road Rage, p. 1848; December 1, 1998, Emily Melton, review of A Sight for Sore Eyes: A Novel, p. 620; April 15, 1999, review of Kissing the Gunner's Daughter, p. 1458; August, 1999, review of A Judgment in Stone, p. 2025; September 1, 1999, Stephanie Zvirin, review of Harm Done, p. 8; November 1, 1999, Karen Harris, review of A Sight for Sore Eyes, p. 551; June 1, 2000, Mary McCay, review of Harm Done, p. 1922; August, 2000, Bill Ott, review of Grasshopper, p. 2077; November 1, 2000, Connie Fletcher, review of Piranha to Scurfy and Other Stories, p. 493; November 15, 2001, Connie Fletcher, review of Adam and Eve and Pinch Me, p. 524; May 15, 2002, Stephanie Zvirin, review of The Blood Doctor, p. 1556; September 1, 2003, Stephanie Zvirin, review of The Babes in the Wood, p. 7; July, 2005, Connie Fletcher, review of Thirteen Steps Down, p. 1877; December 1, 2005, Connie Fletcher, review of The Minotaur, p. 7; May 1, 2006, Allison Block, review of End in Tears, p. 39.
Bookseller, June 10, 2005, review of Thirteen Steps Down, p. 13; December 2, 2005, Frances Harvey, review of End in Tears, p. 15.
British Medical Journal, July 29, 2000, Judy Jones, "Concern Mounts over Female Genital Mutilation," p. 262; November 30, 2002, Jeff Aronson, review of The Blood Doctor, p. 1307.
Detroit Free Press, March 15, 2006, Ron Bernas, review of The Minotaur.
Entertainment Weekly, February 14, 1992, review of Gallowglass, p. 50; July 17, 1998, Darcy Lockman, review of The Chimney Sweeper's Boy, p. 78; April 23, 1999, "The Week," review of A Sight for Sore Eyes, p. 58; March 15, 2002, review of Adam and Eve and Pinch Me, p. 72; October 31, 2003, Mark Harris, review of The Babes in the Wood, p. 77; November 19, 2004, Tina Jordan, review of The Rottweiler, p. 88; September 30, 2005, Jennifer Reese, "Mistress of the Dark: In Thirteen Steps Down, Ruth Rendell Pulls off the Almost-Perfect Crime Novel," review of Thirteen Steps Down, p. 96; December 30, 2005, Jennifer Reese, "Literature of the Year," review of Thirteen Steps Down, p. 148; July 21, 2006, Jennifer Reese, "Deep ‘End,’" review of End in Tears, p. 74.
Europe Intelligence Wire, October 20, 2002, Katie Owen, review of The Babes in the Wood; November 2, 2002, Rachel Simhon, review of The Babes in the Wood; July 29, 2005, Graham Chalmers, "In Conversation: Ruth Rendell, Cedar Court Hotel, Harrogate," interview with Ruth Rendell.
Independent (London, England), August 18, 2001, Jane Jakeman, review of Adam and Eve and Pinch Me, p. 9; June 15, 2002, Jane Jakeman, "Where Does Ruth Rendell End and ‘Barbara Vine’ Begin?," p. 30.
Kirkus Reviews, May 15, 2002, review of The Blood Doctor, p. 698; July 15, 2003, review of The Babes in the Wood, p. 942; July 1, 2005, review of Thirteen Steps Down, p. 706; January 15, 2006, review of The Minotaur, p. 61; May 15, 2006, review of End in Tears, p. 500.
Library Journal, March 15, 1998, Francine Fialkoff, review of The Chimney Sweeper's Boy, p. 97; February 1, 1999, Caroline Mann, review of A Sight for Sore Eyes, p. 122; August, 1999, Michael Rogers, review of Some Lie and Some Die, p. 149; September 1, 1999, Francine Fialkoff, review of Harm Done, p. 237, and Michael Rogers, review of Murder Being Once Done, p. 238; October 1, 1999, Sandy Glover, review of A Sight for Sore Eyes, p. 150; May 15, 2000, Danna Bell-Russel, review of Harm Done, p. 142; June 15, 2000, Michael Rogers, review of A Judgment in Stone, p. 122; October 15, 2000, Zaheera Jiwaji, review of Grasshopper, p. 105; December, 2000, Jane la Plante, review of Piranha to Scurfy and Other Stories, p. 194; February 15, 2001, Michael Rogers, review of The Fallen Curtain and Other Stories, p. 206; December, 2001, Caroline Mann, review of Adam and Eve and Pinch Me, p. 175; June 15, 2002, Caroline Mann, review of The Blood Doctor, p. 98; October 1, 2003, Caroline Mann, review of The Babes in the Wood, p. 122; August 1, 2005, Jane la Plante, review of Thirteen Steps Down, p. 71; January 1, 2006, Rebecca Vnuk, review of The Minotaur, p. 106; June 15, 2006, Caroline Mann, review of End in Tears, p. 64.
New Statesman, September 6, 1996, Carol Birch, review of The Keys to the Street, p. 47; October 30, 1998, Francis Gilbert, review of A Sight for Sore Eyes; July 3, 2000, Nicola Upson, "Crime Waves," review of Grasshopper, p. 58; June 10, 2002, Katie Owen, "Novel of the Week," review of The Blood Doctor, p. 53; October 4, 2004, Rebecca Gowers, "Murky Depths," review of Thirteen Steps Down, p. 54.
New Statesman & Society, March 12, 1993, Bill Greenwell, review of Anna's Book, p. 38; August 20, 1993, Julie Wheelwright, review of The Crocodile Bird, p. 40; May 20, 1994, Wendy Brandmark, review of No Night is Too Long, p. 39; April 5, 1996, Patricia Craig, review of The Brimstone Wedding, p. 39.
Newsweek, September 21, 1987, David Lehman, review of Talking to Strange Men, p. 77.
New Yorker, November 7, 2005, review of Thirteen Steps Down, p. 139.
New York Times Book Review, October 13, 1996, Marilyn Stasio, review of The Keys to the Street, p. 29; September 7, 1997, Marilyn Stasio, review of Road Rage, p. 34; April 4, 1999, Marilyn Stasio, review of A Sight for Sore Eyes, p. 20; November 21, 1999, Marilyn Stasio, review of Harm Done, p. 80; March 3, 2002, Marilyn Stasio, review of Adam and Eve and Pinch Me, p. 21; August 4, 2002, Marilyn Stasio, review of The Blood Doctor, p. 19; November 18, 2004, Janet Maslin, "A Killer Is on the Loose, but Life's Demands Continue," review of The Rottweiler; November 27, 2005, Marilyn Stasio, "Killer in the Attic," review of Thirteen Steps Down; March 26, 2006, Marilyn Stasio, "The Madman in the Attic," review of The Minotaur, p. 15; July 23, 2006, Marilyn Stasio, "Unhappy Families," review of End in Tears, p. 22.
Orlando Sentinel, December 29, 2004, Ann Hellmuth, review of The Rottweiler.
People, February 6, 1984, review of The Fever Tree, p. 12; April 7, 1986, Campbell Geeslin, review of The New Girlfriend, p. 16; July 20, 1987, Campbell Geeslin, review of Heartstones, p. 12; October 18, 1992, William A. Henry, III, review of Anna's Book, p. 40; July 15, 2006, Pam Lambert, review of Blood Lines, p. 41.
Publishers Weekly, March 9, 1990, review of Gallowglass, p. 53; August 17, 1990, review of Going Wrong, p. 50; August 16, 1991, review of The Copper Peacock, p. 49; March 2, 1992, review of King Solomon's Carpet, p. 51; June 21, 1993, review of Anna's Book, p. 87; December 19, 1994, review of No Night is Too Long, p. 47; April 22, 1996, review of Blood Lines, p. 61; July 29, 1996, review of Keys to the Street, p. 73; July 7, 1997, review of Road Rage, p. 53; March 23, 1998, review of The Chimney Sweeper's Boy, p. 80; February 8, 1999, review of A Sight for Sore Eyes, p. 197; October 18, 1999, review of Harm Done, p.73; August 28, 2000, review of Grasshopper, p. 50; November 13, 2000, review of Piranha to Scurfy and Other Stories, p. 89; January 28, 2002, review of Adam and Eve and Pinch Me, p. 274, and interview with Ruth Rendell, p. 275; June 24, 2002, review of The Blood Doctor, p. 43; September 29, 2003, review of The Babes in the Wood, p. 46; August 15, 2005, review of Thirteen Steps Down, p. 37; January 16, 2006, review of The Minotaur, p. 39; May 29, 2006, review of End in Tears, p. 40.
School Library Journal, March, 1997, Judy McAloon, review of The Keys to the Street, p. 216.
Seattle Times, February 10, 2002, Adam Woog, review of Adam and Eve and Pinch Me, p. J11.
Spectator, June 1, 2002, Charlotte Joll, "Trying to Climb the Family Tree," review of The Blood Doctor, p. 37; October 4, 2003, Antonia Fraser, "And Now for My Next Trick …" review of The Rottweiler, p. 55; April 9, 2005, Anita Brookner, "A Nest of Ungentle Essex Folk," review of The Minotaur, p. 36; November 26, 2005, Harriet Waugh, "Recent Crime Novels," review of End in Tears, p. 49; November 4, 2006, Andrew Taylor, "Looking on the Dark Side," review of The Water's Lovely.
Telegraph (London, England), November 4, 2005, "Her Dark Materials," interview with Ruth Rendell.
Time, May 5, 1986, William A. Henry, III, review of The New Girlfriend, p. 74; August 18, 1986, William A. Henry, III, review of A Dark-Adapted Eye, p. 72; August 17, 1987, William A. Henry, III, review of A Dark-Adapted Eye, p. 64; February 1, 1988, William A. Henry, III, review of Talking to Strange Men, p. 65; August 8, 1988, William A. Henry, III, review of The Veiled One, p. 74; June 19, 1989, review of The House of Stairs, p. 65; July 2, 1990, Stefan Kanfer, review of Gallowglass, p. 67.
Internet Movie Database,http://www.imdb.com/ (February 10, 2007), filmography of Ruth Rendell.