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The Lake of Darkness Paperback – January 9, 2001

4.3 out of 5 stars 39 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Released in 1976, 1980, and 1971, respectively, these present a bevy of Rendell's signature characters, who, although seemingly normal, well-balanced individuals, in actuality are nut cases. Though her books are formulaic, Rendell has managed to amass a huge following, who will enjoy a second crack at these.
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

"Ruth Rendell is surely one of the greatest novelists presently at work in our language."- Scott Turow

"Rendell writes with such elegance and restraint, with such a literate voice and an insightful mind, that she transcends the mystery genre and achieves something almost sublime."- Los Angeles Times

"Rendell's clear, shapely prose casts the mesmerizing spell of the confessional."- The New Yorker

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Product Details

  • Series: Vintage Crime/Black Lizard
  • Paperback: 210 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Crime/Black Lizard; 1st Vintage Crime/Black Lizard ed edition (September 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375704973
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375704970
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #109,346 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By lawyeraau HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 27, 2003
Format: Paperback
Ruth Rendell is a fabulous British author who has churned out mystery after mystery filled with dark, demented twists. This is another tautly plotted, well crafted mystery with characters that, though seemingly normal, are just a tad off the beaten path.
This book features Martin Urban, a staid and somewhat stuffy young man who would have felt at home in Victorian England. Martin wins a very large sum of money in a football pool with a little help from Tim Sage, an old friend of his. Altruistic and given to some rather god-like pronouncements, Martin wishes to give the money away to the deserving poor, in order to enable them to buy a home. Poor Martin, there are none so blind, as those who will not see.
Beset by subliminal homo-erotic thoughts regarding Tim Sage, he meets a mysterious young woman named Francesca, who is as demure and submissive as a Victorian maiden and captures his heart. Unfortunately, she is bound to another. All, however, is not as Martin thinks that it is.
Enter Finn, the twisted son of Lena, former cleaning lady to Martin's mother. When Finn's path crosses that of Martin's, during one of Martin's fumbling attempts to give some of his winnings away, a very clever dialogue ensues between these two with some unexpected, deadly results.
Fans of Ms. Rendell will not be disappointed by this book. It is filled with the slightly off-beat characters for which she is known, some of whom harbor dark twisted thoughts, while others are entirely socio-pathic. Well-written is spare, clear prose and filled with enough twists and turns to satisfy the most discerning of readers, this is another gem in Ms. Rendell's treasure trove of mysteries.
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Format: Paperback
The woman never ceases to amaze me. I have read so many Rendell/Vine books and just can't stop. So few authors can look into the warped, secret side of someone the world perceives as normal in the acutely fascinating way she does. No skipping words or pages in her books.
'Darkness' ranks as one of the most perfectly crafted mysteries ever written. When all the pieces fit so beautifully--without stretching and reaching, without the reader thinking he's on a fictional ride--so perfectly, it is physically satisfying. The reader feels like one of the gods on Olympus looking down on these characters who stumble inexorably into what is to be their fate.
At the end of this book, I sat back and sighed with satisfaction. Yes, brilliant, Ruth. How do you do it?
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Format: Audio Cassette
Martin Urban wins a tidy sum at the football pools and, since he is not financially destitute, decides to share his good fortune with those less fortunate than himself. Martin, however, will learn that no good deed goes unpunished. One of his benefactors is a fellow named Finn, who, while being the son of a friend of Martin's mother, is also no stranger to receiving strange bundles of cash - for "services rendered". There is also Francesca, who is Martin's love interest, if that's the right word. These three form an eternal triangle, only they don't know it. For you see, once Finn receives Martin's sum, he's not quite sure who he is suppose to kill.
This book is reminiscent of Elmore Leonard in that it is not a mystery per se - not Inspector Wexford - but more of a crime novel, a psychological treatise where the characters dictate the action. While neither Martin, Finn, nor Francesca evokes our sympathy, their interwining does. The plot is woven among these three much like a loom.
The strength of the book is Rendell's emphasis on the psychological make up of her main characters as well as her ability to draw them into relationships without their necessarily being in the same scene. I gave the book 4 stars and not 5 because this could have been a bigger story. However, if you're looking for a mystery, go read Sherlock Holmes. There's more deeper psychological angst here.
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By A reader on November 15, 2002
Format: Paperback
I went to my library to check out "A Sight for Sore Eyes" as I was trying to describe it to a friend and wanted to re-read it for some details. Discovered "The Lake of Darkness" on the Ruth Rendell shelf.
What a great book! I could hardly put it down. I loved the ending where the bad guy forgets one very important detail and can't do anything about it. We assume that he will be caught, but don't know for sure.
What I like about this book was that the characters seem to be normal, but they are anything but. It makes one wonder what ones neighbors might really be doing.
I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to read a great story.
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By A Customer on January 18, 2001
Format: Audio Cassette
This was a great book. Again some of Rendells finest work was in her middle period. Great insight into the inner workings of a person, you feel as if you were inside not just their minds but souls. Rendell is so subtle as she shows us the characters flaws, and then lets him/her reveal themselves to us showing us, the readers, what even they, the characters, don't know or accept about themselves until the fatal ending, of cousrse. Terrific novel of psychological suspense, and betrayal figures but it's mostly the betrayal of the self and the lack of self knoweledge that is in this story. Finn and Lena are wonderfully drawn as are Martin and Tim and Francesca and the "deserving" needy Martin wants to be God to. Please read this, it's better than all the top ten bestsellers put together. Rendell puts Grishom to shame in terms of plot character and suspense.
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