I found this recently on an impromptu trip to a local market. I’ve read a few Ruth Rendells now, and actually one of her short story collections may become the subject of my final Creative Reading Commentary (like a dissertation only, thankfully, shorter) at the end of this part of the Creative Writing degree course I’m currently on – Writing Short Fiction.
The back of the book reads:
‘Minty Knox sees ghosts. And because this is Rendell territory, we know this will not be a supernatural thriller but rather an exploration of what happens when personal delusions collide with reality…
With her usual deft touch, Ruth Rendell pulls the strands of her story together, weaving a taut and terrifying narrative which reminds us that nothing we do is without consequence, nor are those consequences ever within our control.’
This was great reading. A long book at 442 pages, but the characters were so perfectly painted and so cleverly held together by the ‘ghost’ that Minty sees in the first sentence (actually a philanderer of the cheekiest order), that you can’t help but be drawn into the disparate and yet essentially intersecting lives of those this ‘ghost’ pulls together.
There are all kinds of characters to suit all kinds of tastes: from the painfully OCD Minty, to Jims, the closet Gay MP who (rather than come Out to his peers) marries his best (girl) friend, Zillah, and by default inherits her 2 brattish kids; Fiona, the hopelessly naive ‘fiancee’ of the philandering ‘ghost’ and all the neighbours, co-workers, ex lovers-cum-tabloid reporters in between who come together to make up a seductive jigsaw of believable human characters that give the story such charm.
9/10 – characters that make you feel less alone; you can’t go wrong with a Rendell