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Tigerlily's Orchids: A Novel Hardcover – June 14, 2011
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“Rendell marshals her large cast of vividly drawn characters with apparent ease, skewering their self-deception and satirizing their pursuit of self-gratification with great skill…. The result is a thrilling exercise.”—The Evening Standard (UK)
"Out of this spider's web of interwoven lives emerges ... a beautifully disguised and manipulated surprise, set amid the jittery background of the restless city."--The Independent (UK)
“Spellbinding…. It's hard to think of another writer in the genre doing this sort of thing so well, and none does it better.”--Washington Post
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Brief summary and review, no spoilers:
At the beginning of this novel, a handsome young man named Stuart Font is planning to throw a party in his new flat. He is planning the guest list that includes all the residents in his apartment complex.
We also know from the start that Stuart is having an affair with a married woman named Claudia, and when Claudia's husband Freddie finds out about this affair he is definitely not happy. Many of the other characters in this novel are apartment tenants such as sad alcoholic Olwen, 3 young female college students, an ex- doctor newspaper columnist and his wife, a sleazy flat manager and his wife, a homeopathic healer, an ex-hippie who thinks the healer looks very familiar, and finally an elderly fussy retired policeman who is very concerned about keeping his flat warm.
There is also a very pretty young Asian girl across the street - Tigerlily from the title - and Stuart becomes obsessed with her.
As we become acquainted with all of these tenants in typical Rendell fashion, their lives will all intertwine in strange and sinister ways as the tension ratchets up. Full of the typical eccentric and oddball characters, I read this novel in one sitting.Read more ›
Rendell links these denizens and peripheral friends with the way they live now, not how they will die. The most narcissistic character is the one that is murdered, however. We are initially introduced to Stuart Font, a handsome, young heir who purchased one of the flats with the money left to him from an aunt. He is not very smart, rather a slow learner who doesn't know money runs out and cannot seem to refrain from seeing a married woman, Claudia, even after a broken arm courtesy of her husband. Claudia is obsessed with Stuart (the thrill of the chase), Stuart becomes obsessed with a beautiful Asian girl who is thus named Tigerlily.
I found all of her characters interesting, particularly Olwen, the middle-aged drunk, whose goal is to drink herself to death. Olwen's pursuit of gin and other potent alcohol is a staggering drama; the many ways she obtains her bottles are quite astonishing and sad.
Many of the tenants pursue each other allowing Rendell to delve into their obsessions.Read more ›
Readers who prefer simple whodunnits may be disappointed as Rendell's books are more about the relationships, delusions and obsessions of her characters. There is a murder (although it appears in the latter half of the book) but it is not the main focus here. Rendell has the ability to mesmerize her reader and her writing style quickly pulls you in and doesn't let up. She is an amazing writer.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I am a big fan, but I don't think her latest books have been as well written and some of her earlier ones. On the whole this is a better than average read.Published 7 months ago by G. R. Pearson
Ruth Rendell does it again. The story starts out slow but knowing her other books I knew there was a good reason for this. Read morePublished 19 months ago by lovesbooks2
This is another superbly written book by Ruth Rendell. This one features an ensemble cast, living in a group of apartments, one of whom is murdered. Read morePublished on March 23, 2014 by rubyclaire_nc
First: I love this author. Her ability to show the ugly underside of ordinary people always fascinates me. Read morePublished on September 20, 2013 by Tina M. Guizzetti
Good but I prefer the Inspector Wexford series. Rendell, however, never disappoints when it comes to escape into a fascinating world and suspense. Nell AbbottPublished on August 20, 2013 by Nell Abbott
As usual Ms. Rendell did not disappoint. She is a master story teller. Her ability to weave an intricate plot with characters many of whom we might have known in real life is... Read morePublished on August 11, 2013 by Catherine Fanning
Well written, believable characters and situations, you might even recognise some friends or neighbors. The ending was a total surprise to me.Published on July 7, 2013 by Tony Burson
The twists and turns in this novel are very good,with the outcome quite unexpected and then two of the protagonists live happily ever after (presumably). Read morePublished on April 28, 2013 by Peter R. Wigley