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The St. Zita Society: A Novel Hardcover – August 14, 2012
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"Rendell is brilliant...her sympathy for the human predicament comes across in every line of this novel."--Sophie Hannah, Sunday Express (UK)
"Rendell is just marvelous." --Herald Sun (Australia)
"As always, Rendell excels at detailed misunderstandings, paranoia, subtle power-shifts and the laws of unintended consequences."--Laura Wilson, The Guardian (UK)
"One hell of a read...Rendell keeps us hanging on."--Jane Jakeman, Belfast Telegraph (UK)
"Leaves you longing for more."--Kirkus Reviews
"[A] masterwork...dark, intelligent and intriguing."--People
“It's a pleasure to report that Ruth Rendell, at the age of 82 and after publishing more than 60 books, has given us yet another gem. A pleasure but not a surprise, since Rendell has for years, along with her friend P.D. James, been bringing new sophistication and psychological depth to the traditional English mystery.”--Washington Post
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Top Customer Reviews
He is certainly the oddest person in the book, but not the most evil. There are many candidates for that role and even initially sympathetic characters come under suspicion.
The St. Zita Society starts slowly, which is not a bad thing -- there are so many characters, it takes some time to become familiar with their relationships and connections. The first death doesn't take place until nearly halfway into the book.
I can count on Rendell to keep me entertained, not only as I read the book, but afterward, as I try to piece together everything that happened and figure out how I missed critical clues. In addition to irresistible plots, Rendell draws the most fascinating characters in crime fiction. They unfold like psychiatric case studies. This time, she also increased my vocabulary, with dugong and psychopomp joining the list of words I can't wait to use in conversation if the right occasion ever arises.
The St. Zita Society is her best mystery in a decade. Can't wait for her next as Barbara Vine, due in December, 2012.
Saint Zita is the patron saint of servants, and that is the group we meet and get to know in this dark, mordantly funny thriller. All the domestic workers on Hexam Place in Pimlico, London, have formed a club of sorts, gathering in the local pub to air their grievances about their privileged employers, and to console and support one another. But some of them are secretly more upset than they let on, and at least one of them is a psychopath. Then the murders begin...
As usual, Rendell has more on her mind than merely telling an exciting--and very bizarre--story. What creeps into this novel is a real sense of the still-ongoing class system in Great Britain (and, by extension, the rest of the world). As a strong advocate of England's Labour Party, she really has a few things to say on the subject. But she never forgets that this is, first and foremost, a suspense novel. A feeling of dread slowly builds in the reader (well, it did in me), the feeling I get when I watch a Hitchcock movie. THE ST. ZITA SOCIETY is yet another excellent example of why Rendell is one of the most celebrated and awarded crime writers around. There's no one else like her. Highly recommended.
There is a definite working-class partisanship to the novel; Rendell, now a life peer, has never forgotten the injustice of poverty.
I don't want to spoil the book, and I apologize for this very perfunctory review. The book is a thoroughly competent smorgasbord of knaves and fools, knives and tools. Not in my top echelon, but worthy of Rendell's name. I read it in two sittings.
We all LOVE Ruth Rendell and read all she writes, but this was just...well, dull. NOTHING happens for 79 pages.
Characters are introduced and basically go in and out of doors. You have Rabia, Montserrat, Dex and about a dozen others. Most with odd names. And nothing happens. NOTHING. Then, someone dies.
Two people try to cover it up/hide the body. Sort of interesting but then...nothing happens. For 100 pages!
Then someone else is killed, mistakenly. Then the person who killed the person is killed in the very last sentence.
And that's it. I think if this was a 100 page novella, it would okay. But for a novel, it just is boring, which is NOT what a Ruth Rendell novel is.
I'll return for the next one. And if this is your first by her and you hated it, read A SIGHT FOR SORE EYES--it's brilliant!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Ruth Rendell had said some unflattering things about Agatha Christie back in the day, all essentially about Christie's characters and their world being too quaint to believably... Read morePublished 6 months ago by Mia
No one understood the menace in everyday life better than Ruth Rendell. I consider her one of the Queens of contemporary British mystery and she will be sorely missed. The St. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Candy
This is adorable and hilariously funny. Gave it to many of my friends.Published 8 months ago by Monique Raphel High
My least favourite Ruth Rendell novel by a country mile, the St Zita Society is, sadly, not one I would recommend to fans of this exceptional author. Read morePublished 16 months ago by Belle du Jour
I was astonished to see so many 3 star reviews for this marvellous book. It's one of my favorite R Rendell's.Published 18 months ago by Vistocrit
Disappointing, not up to her usual standard, difficult to follow the characters at timesPublished 19 months ago by Dot