Writing as Ruth Rendell, Barbara Vine has earned the Grand Master Award for lifetime achievement. In The Chimney Sweeper's Boy
, Vine proves herself the equal of her alter ego and a master of the psychological thriller--as well as the police procedural--in this riveting novel. Why bestselling novelist Gerald Candless assumed a new identity years before his marriage and the birth of his two daughters isn't revealed until the penultimate chapter of the book, but the effect of his deception on his family drives Vine's deft character studies. In Gerald's wife, Ursula, and his daughters, Hope and Sarah, Vine has created three complex women in the thrall of an equally complicated and compelling man. As Sarah unravels the mystery of her father's deception, Gerald gradually becomes a more sympathetic figure. But Ursula, whose strange marital bargain with Gerald and whose distant relationship with her daughters tug at the heart, stays with the reader long after this distinguished, literary mystery is finished. --Jane Adams
From Library Journal
Michael Williams reads popular author Vine's (No Night Is Too Long, Audio Reviews, LJ 4/15/95) compelling tale in a gently affecting manner. Gerald Candless played only two roles in life: best-selling author and doting father. Or did he? Commissioned to write a personal biography of her famous father, Sarah Candless discovers that the real Gerald died at age seven. Who was the man she called Father and how did he turn into a cold, emotional isolate who cared only for his daughters? A few incidental characters and episodes seem out of place, probably due to abridgment, but this is a minor quibble. Overall, this is an entertaining listening experience in the low-violence mystery/suspense genre. Recommended for all libraries.?I. Pour-El, Iowa State Univ. Lib., Ames
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