- Audible Audio Edition
- Publisher: Random House Audio (UK) (1868)
- ASIN: B01K2K67FE
- Average Customer Review: 45 customer reviews
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Adam and Eve and Pinch Me by Ruth Rendell (2004-10-07) Audible – 1868
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Top customer reviews
This book, as was the last one I read, "The Birthday Present" a let down. After I finish the last of the Rendell's on my bookshelf, there will be no more. Ironically, it is the first she ever wrote.
This one kept me riveted. I really had trouble putting it down to get on with my daily tasks, until I finished it last night. Her portrayal of the compulsive-obsessive Minty, who slips over the edge into insanity, will stay with me for a long time. I also reveled in the other characters, even the ones who seemed like excess baggage when first they appeared in the narrative. OK, except for the brief appearances of some ill-fated juveniles, who as far as I'm concerned were never more than tiresome clutter.
Yes, it was riveting overall. And yet, I skimmed over some of the action in the second half of the book, mostly to do with the police investigation of the two murders. It could have done with tighter editing there.
I shall probably re-read some of the final chapters to be sure I've savored the way the plot wrapped up as to the lovely, self-absorbed, and stupid Zillah, and her gay conservative MP "husband," among others. I rather cared what might have happened to them, and Minty, and a few other characters, after the final scene.
In this novel, Rendell creates some extremely dysfunctional characters. Yet, no matter how strange or unlikable the characters are at first glance, the author manages to make the reader both understand and sympathize with them. Most dysfunctional of all is Minty Knox, a pathetic and lonely young woman who has a horrible case of obsessive-compulsive disorder. She is compelled by her illness to wash herself, her clothing and her home many times daily; her fear of dirt is pathological. Worse yet, Minty eventually starts to hallucinate, seeing and hearing ghosts of people whom she has known in the past. There is also a strange couple, Michelle and Matthew Jarvey, who suffer from extreme eating disorders and an ambitious Member of Parliament named Jims Melcombe-Smith, whose is willing to go to desperate lengths to keep his homosexuality a secret.
The lives of these people and others intersect when two bizarre murders are committed in London in close succession. The police cannot decide who had the means or the motive to commit these strange crimes, but the reader is in on the secret all along. Therefore, "Adam and Eve" is not so much a whodunit as it is an intricate, suspenseful and fascinating psychological study of the different ways that people behave under extreme duress. It would be fair to state that Rendell's view of human nature is generally a negative one, since she so often depicts selfish, petty and disturbed people in her novels. However, Rendell tempers her pessimism with delicious humor and deep compassion. Occasionally, as in the case of Michelle and Matthew Jarvey, Rendell creates characters who treat one other with genuine consideration and devotion. The whole spectrum of human nature is on display in Rendell's novels.
I highly recommend "Adam and Eve and Pinch Me." It is a wonderful book that will mesmerize, horrify and entertain you all at once.