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Starred Review. London's Portobello Road, a street fabled for its shops and outdoor market, provides the backdrop for Edgar-winner Rendell's superlative suspense novel, which features a cast of colorful characters from varied classes and walks of life. Secretive 50-year-old Eugene Wren, who's addicted to cheap candy lozenges, is toying with marrying his longtime girlfriend, physician Ella Cotswold. Rootless Lance Platt cases the neighborhood for costly homes he can break into, and clashes with his great-uncle, Gilbert Gibson, a former burglar who now preaches the gospel. One man's losing 115 pounds triggers a series of coincidences that brings this disparate lot closer together, toward haphazard violence and death. Rendell (The Water's Lovely) is particularly adept at portraying young people just a dole check away from homelessness as well as the carelessness and callousness of the book's upper-middle-class characters. Her style has become ever more spare while retaining its subtle psychology and vivid sense of place.
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Rendell writes better when she writes shorter. Most of her novels and short stories, for which she is justly acclaimed (she has won three Edgars as well as three Gold Daggers and one Diamond Dagger), have been minimalist works of suspense genius, the kind where you look around the room wonderingly when Rendell sinks in the shiv of surprise. In this novel, Rendell has relaxed a great deal, spending pages on bits of business (for example, the current hero likes a particular kind of snack) that would have been swiftly dealt with in her earlier work. This is a novel that should have been a short story about a man who finds an envelope filled with money. He doesn’t need it—he’s inherited his father’s wealth from a print shop in the Portobello Road—so he posts “Found” notices around the extensive Portobello street market. This act, of course, leads to a series of encounters with other Londoners, some of them dangerous. Rendell fans want to read everything she writes, but this overpadded tale is not among her best work. --Connie FletcherSee all Editorial Reviews
This is lighter than many of Ruth Rendell's books, lighter and at times, funnier. I loved the ending.
I cared about the characters and wanted them to win.
Great storytelling built around a group of people who live along Portobello Road in London. Like all of Rendell's books, the tension builds gradually and you get totally absorbed... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Mad about Mysteries
If you like mysteries; especially British based, into the characters, not the blood & guts, try Ruth Rendell. She also writes as Barbara Vine-a whole different experience. Read morePublished 8 months ago by PetieJ
I love Ruth Rendell. As soon as I finish one of her books, I order another one for my Kindle. This story had various characters,seedy and elite, but not too many to keep track... Read morePublished 14 months ago by Marilyn B. Glabicki
I discovered Ruth Rendell a few years ago. I'm not sure why it took so long to read her work, but I have enjoyed each book of hers that I've read and this is no exception. Read morePublished 16 months ago by painter
I LOVE Ruth Rendel. I have read her books for literally decades. Lately, because of the ease of reading with my Chmas present Paperwhite Kindle, I started rereading all the old... Read morePublished 17 months ago by G. J. Hubbard
Anything that Ruth Rendell touches seems to turn to gold. In this case, the characters are realistic and the story is--well, fascinating. You will love it if you love Rendell.Published 18 months ago by Strudel