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Portobello: A Novel Hardcover – September 7, 2010
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Top Customer Reviews
Ruth Rendell is more than a mystery writer. In several recent books, she has provided a remarkable social commentary on today's world, and she works her brilliant observations of human nature into her brilliant plots. PORTOBELLO is amazing, start to finish. Highly recommended.
Set somewhere around the present day in London's Notting Hill the book is comprised of several different personalities from divergent social groups who unexpectedly interact. We meet a middle aged wealthy art dealer, his medical doctor girlfriend, an elderly ex convict turned religious devotee, the mentally unstable son of a famous businessman who has disowned him, an unemployed man in his twenties living off the dole while supplementing it with some illegal activities and a self-sufficient eighty something woman who surprises her neighbors by having a male companion plus quite a few more. All these characters somehow have a connection and the catalyst for all this is some money found that the bored finder decides to complicate for his amusement.
Since I am a dedicated Rendell fan I am glad I took the time to read this novel as I enjoyed it more than a lot of "thrillers" currently being published. However I do not recommend this novel to people new to Rendell. So many of her other novels feature more compelling plot lines and believable characters to engage prospective readers not yet hooked on her writing.
In this one she does a beautiful job of recreating London's Saturday and Sunday street market and the everyday life of this sometimes seedy and creepy street. Rendell says, "Eccentricity is the norm in the Portobello Road" as it is in her writing.
Eugene finds a wad of money in the street, advertises it, but doesn't say the amount he has found. When Eugene gets a call, he stupidly invites the supposed owner, Lance Platt, a petty crook and female abuser, to his house to tell him the correct amount. Lance gives the wrong amount, is ushered to the door, but not before Lance is able to case the joint for a future break-in.
Eugene's girlfriend is Ella, a doctor, who is a chump for a sob story. Joel Roseman, a phobia-ridden neurotic correctly identifies the amount of money, and Ella brings the money from Eugene to Joel in the hospital. Joel's a very needy person so she becomes his personal doctor. Meanwhile Eugene scours all of the local stores for his addictive treat Chocorange, and we, as readers, go with him on many, too many, of these quests. He feels very guilty about buying bags of the stuff, and he can't get enough of it.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer 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 11 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 13 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 19 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 21 months ago by painter