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Adam and Eve and Pinch Me Paperback – January 14, 2003


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage (January 14, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400031184
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400031184
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.2 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #360,403 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

In Adam and Eve and Pinch Me, the mills of the gods appear to have ground Jock Lewis to dust--or have they? Jock's obsessive-compulsive girlfriend, Minty, thinks he was killed in a train crash and is tormented by his ghost. But the cheerfully amoral Jock--AKA Jerry Leach and Jeff Leigh, depending on which woman he's romancing--faked his death to move on to yet another unsuspecting lady. His one legal wife has swept their union hastily under the rug and married a conservative member of Parliament, who has his own urgent secrets. Jock's most recent fiancée, a successful banker, hasn't minded keeping him in the manner to which he's become accustomed--that is, until the day he doesn't come home. When his body is found in a cinema, the intersections of his past collapse in a way that destroys some lives and rebuilds others.

Adam and Eve and Pinch Me is no whodunit: the murderer is known from the outset. The suspense arises from the uncertainty of whether justice will be served. That deftly handled angle draws the reader into the book, while Ruth Rendell's famously acute insight into all forms of borderline madness makes it all so believably chilling. --Barrie Trinkle --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

HThis latest gem from the British master concerns the wreckage wrought on a variety of Londoners by a womanizing con man who speaks in rhymes. Here, as in A Sight for Sore Eyes (1999), Rendell's genius is to create characters so vivid they live beyond the frame of the novel. She pushes the ordinary to the point of the bizarre while remaining consistently believable. Araminta "Minty" Knox, the fragile center of the plot, is a 30-something woman, alone and obsessed with hygiene, who works in a dry-cleaning shop. All the world is a petri dish for Minty, who sees germs everywhere, which she attacks with Wright's Coal Tar Soap. She is equally tormented by the ghosts she imagines, her domineering "Auntie" and the man who took her virginity. Other characters hover on the borderline between transformation and disaster. Tory MP "Jims" Melcombe-Smith, in bed politically with the "family values" crowd, is simultaneously courting a gay lover. Working-class Zillah Leach, bored with her small children and smaller bank account, schemes to marry up, even at the risk of committing bigamy. This is not a whodunit in the sense of Rendell's Inspector Wexford novels, but a study of crime's origins and especially its consequences as they ripple out beyond the immediate victims. The plot is intricate but brisk, and Rendell nails her characters' psychology in all its perverse logic. She has a travel writer's sensitivity to setting, to the architecture, cemeteries, birds and vegetation of contemporary Britain. This is a literary page-turner, both elegant and accessible.

Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

This book holds the reader's interest from the beginning to the end.
Patricia Ibbotson
He seems to pick damaged people and preys on their weaknesses, and there are a great many to be found her.
Moe811
Her psychology is so accurate, and the weird disturbed characters made to seem to real.
RachelWalker

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 30 people found the following review helpful By RachelWalker on February 14, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I have read every single book Ruth Rendell has ever read. Including the Inspector Wexford series, over which i hold no shame about the fact that i don't like them half as much as her psychological thrillers. And this book is the reason why.
Personally, i believe that every sane person should read this book. Rendell is a stunning writer, and the way she mixes contemporay issues and events into the storyline makes the book so realistic, and so so chilling. The way she makes references to recent films, newscasters, and a whole other variety of real things which have actually happened is superb. She mixes sharp bits of non-fiction into thickly plotted fiction, and it comes out as more realistic than it might have been had she not.
The plot to this one is the best one she has come up with yet. i shan't just give a synopsis of it like some reviews do, i really don't need to read a synopsis of a book when i'm trying to find a review, so i'm sur eyou don't either. But just rest assure,s the plot here is a cracker.
She weaves brilliantly the supernatural themes into that of the real life psychology, and it works oh so well. IF she were a lesser writing, the supernatural and the detective side of it would both cancel each other out, but here she mixes each side with great sucess, creating a psychologically gripping novel which you just cannot put down.
Rendell is the only writer who can ever really chill/disturb me. Her psychology is so accurate, and the weird disturbed characters made to seem to real. It is frightening to think that people like that could really be living next door to you, living in your street, on your train as you go to work, on the bus with you, in the cinema with you, in the supermarket with you, ahead of you in the queue. That is yet another of her major strengths.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Laurie Fletcher VINE VOICE on May 2, 2005
Format: Paperback
Because Ruth Rendell's last few outings have been vaguely disappointing, I approached this most recent book with a little reluctance if not outright trepidation. In fact, it sat in my bedside book pile far longer than a Rendell would usually have done in the past. But I needn't have feared...she's back in form and this is an absolutely fascinating character study of men and women and need and manipulation. There are several main characters here whose lives intertwine most unusually, and it is hard to decide who is the best-written of these. They all spring to life with their own unique collections of human foibles and motivations and they are all on a collision course, each with the other. You can see the train wreck coming, but you can't avert your eyes.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By crazyforgems on August 10, 2003
Format: Paperback
Ruth Rendell excels in her ability to describe-and shade-the various forms of madness as well as mental illness.
"Adam and Eve and Pinch Me" tells the tale of "Jock Lewis"-also known by several other aliases-who charms various women into believing he is their one and only. And he does this all at the same time. His victims include Fiona, a hardworking merchant banker; Natalie, a sharp journalist; Zillah, the mother of his two children and the only one who is totally on to him (and also his legal wife); and most memorably, Minty, an obsessive compulsive woman who works in a dry cleaning store. Various other sharply drawn characters surround the main ones including Fiona's married neighbors, an anorexic man and his obese wife.
The book focuses on the disappearance-and reappearance-of Jock and his subsequent murder. In many ways, despite his ne'er to do ways, he seems the most stable individual in the entire book. Much of "Adam and Eve and Pinch Me" is spent on the impact of his behavior on those around him and the choices these individuals are forced to make (Zillah, for instance, enters into a bigamous marriage with a gay politician to support her children.)
I recommend this book for those individuals who are fans of Rendell's and the English mystery genre. I caution readers that this is not your typical "Who dunnit?"--in many ways it is a "Why did he or she do it and who else could have?"
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By David F. Eustace on March 14, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I have always known the expression as Adam and Eve and Punch me, this is apparently the British equivalent. It is s a thrilling read.
We feel special to our mates, so it is a shock to discover an affair going on, the plot many writers use as a resort.
However, Ruth Rendell uses it as a recourse of a different colour. When Araminta Knox learns of the death of her ex, (is he really dead?) other women learn too that this dark-haired man, Jock Lewis, fits the description of a man they knew who fleeced them, a con, a thief, and about as suitable a partner as Bin Laden to your daughter.
Enter a ghost or two, one so scary Minty starts to carry a knife. She is obsessive, and hears voices. Rendell explores the psyche of her characters who reside in and around London, where a serial killer appears to be at gruesome work.
Throughout, this is a strong, suspenseful, psychological thriller.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By RachelWalker on October 5, 2002
Format: Hardcover
This is another absolute winner from Ruth Rendell, my favourite novelist of all time. Of all her books, this is possibly her very very best. It is an amazing portrait of damaged characters forced into dangerous situations, the results of which can only be a tragedy. She displays the catastrohpic inevitability of events already set in motion with a depressing and disturbing reality. It is unsetlling to think that already our lives could be on course for a crash, by perhaps being set to meet a character similar to those in her books...those characters whose smallest actiosn can bring their own worlds, and the worlds od those around them, falling to the ground.
She describes contemporary life excellently, and she draws her characters perfectly. Their downright weirdness is entirely realistic, which comes as a surprise, and a pleasure, as many authors are not able to write authentically and realisticaly about the kinds of characters that Rendell does.
The plot is complex, and at the end she draws all the strands tightly together with the ability of the seasoned and consumate professional that she is. It's a thrilling and entirely suspenseful book, the type of suspense that only Rendell seems capable of creating, via the slow yet enthralling unravelling of her plots. The addition of aspects of the supernatural into the plot only add another layer of chilliness and strangeness to this brilliant book. The mystery and supernatural threads compliment each other incredibly well. The climax is understated and shocking, leaving us, as do all the best books, wanting to know more about the characters and what is to happen to them.
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