"The knives of jealousy are honed on details."
May 4, 2015 4:04 PM   Subscribe

Ruth Rendell, crime writer, dies aged 85. [The Guardian]
Ruth Rendell, one of Britain’s best-loved authors, who delighted fans for decades with her dark, intricately plotted crime novels, has died at the age of 85, her publisher has announced.


Ruth Rendell Dies, Pioneered The Psychological Thriller [NPR]
"In a 2005 NPR interview, Rendell was asked whether she was fascinated by crime. "Well, I don't know that I am fascinated with crime," she said. "I'm fascinated with people and their characters and their obsessions and what they do. And these things lead to crime, but I'm much more fascinated in their minds."
Val McDermid on Ruth Rendell [The Guardian]
"Ruth was unique. No one can equal her range or her accomplishment; no one has earned more respect from her fellow practitioners. The broad church that is current British crime writing owes much to a writer who over a 50-year career consistently demonstrated that the genre can continually reinvent itself, moving in new directions, assuming new concerns and exploring new ways of telling stories. And doing it all in a smoothly satisfying prose style."
Reading becoming a minority activity, warns Ruth Rendell [The Telegraph]
“Perhaps it is more apposite, it is more needful today than it was then because now we can see this happening,” she said. “We are told that it isn’t happening but it is – that reading is no longer something that everybody does as a matter of course. Reading is becoming a kind of specialist activity and that strikes terror into the heart of people who love reading.”
Means of Evil: Inside the Mind of Ruth Rendell [The Line-Up]
"I suppose that earlier detective novels did reflect to a certain extent life as it was; I think that people did live like that, at any rate the upper class did. The concern with good and evil in the detective novel has something to do with the proliferations of the knowledge of psychology and psychiatry. Before that, although Freud and Jung were very, very well known in scientific circles, they were not known in popular circles, so that before the Second World War black seemed blacker and white, whiter. I think that psychology has a very profound effect on detective novels. But this is a question for a dissertation! I can’t begin to answer it."
posted by Fizz (24 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

posted by Fizz at 4:06 PM on May 4, 2015 [1 favorite]

One of my all time favorite authors in any genre, as herself or as her pen name Barbara Vine. She will be missed.
posted by Requiax at 4:08 PM on May 4, 2015 [2 favorites]

posted by localroger at 4:10 PM on May 4, 2015

One more book still to come out!
posted by TWinbrook8 at 4:11 PM on May 4, 2015

I've read a few short stories but none of her novels. Any one who is more familiar with her work have a good place to start. Thanks.
posted by Fizz at 4:14 PM on May 4, 2015

From the Guardian quote list

"The knives of jealousy are honed on details."

- An Unkindness Of Ravens, 1985

posted by lalochezia at 4:43 PM on May 4, 2015

Oh my. I am reading one of her novels right now and listening to another as an audiobook, so Ruth Rendell has been on my mind a lot lately.

I think of her as two people: the one who wrote the fairly straightforward Inspector Wexford murder mystery series (as Ruth Rendell), and the one who wrote disturbing and brilliant novels exploring the dark places in people's psyches (under the pen name Barbara Vine). They were both very talented, but it's definitely the novels of Barbara Vine that are still lodged in my brain, years after reading them.

posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 5:04 PM on May 4, 2015 [4 favorites]

You can't go wrong with any of her books, although some are better than others. There are so many to choose from that I've been reading them in order of publication date. My personal favorites (so far) are A Fatal Inversion and The Minotaur.
posted by jenjenc at 5:06 PM on May 4, 2015 [2 favorites]

It was the author. In The Guardian. With a crime novel.
posted by Joe in Australia at 5:39 PM on May 4, 2015

posted by kjs4 at 6:47 PM on May 4, 2015

posted by bjgeiger at 7:09 PM on May 4, 2015

They were both very talented, but it's definitely the novels of Barbara Vine that are still lodged in my brain, years after reading them.

A friend is a big fan and wrote a nice obituary focusing more on Barbara Vine.
posted by aka burlap at 8:34 PM on May 4, 2015

Oh, crap! She wrote A Dark-Adapted Eye. What a loss!
posted by SPrintF at 8:35 PM on May 4, 2015

To start with? My first was A Fatal Inversion and I never looked back. For an Inspector Wexford novel I strongly recommend you start with the first, From Doon With Death.

Even her biggest fans seem to disagree widely on which of her books are the best. Her work is remarkably varied.
posted by BibiRose at 9:12 PM on May 4, 2015

It's been years since I've read her; she was outstanding. I will have to re read.
posted by gt2 at 11:18 PM on May 4, 2015

Oh, bugger. She is one of my favourites. Ever since I read her novella Heartstones at a very impressionable age, I've been a fan. I actually like her Wexfords best, even though they are less challenging than her Barbara Vines, so it's nice to learn that she reckons Wexford is a lot like her. I'll like him even more now.

posted by Athanassiel at 3:18 AM on May 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


Her short stories were stunning as well.
posted by dannyboybell at 3:43 AM on May 5, 2015

posted by crocomancer at 4:21 AM on May 5, 2015

posted by Obscure Reference at 4:25 AM on May 5, 2015

posted by dances_with_sneetches at 7:30 AM on May 5, 2015


Another one of my mother's favorites. They are dropping quickly, I fear.
posted by librarylis at 12:01 PM on May 5, 2015

Ruth Rendell is dead?

So, uh... whodunit?

(I kid because I love her books. My grandmother has everything she and PD James ever wrote; I used to devour them every summer.)
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 3:08 PM on May 5, 2015

Oh, dear. This makes me sad. I haven't read a Ruth Rendall but I read many Barbara Vines and they really stuck with me.
We just lost Barbara Reynolds, too, who did so much for the legacy of Dorothy L. Sayers.
posted by PussKillian at 9:37 PM on May 5, 2015

« Older "The hell of Francisco Goya has no parallel in art...   |   To market, to market to sell a fat pig: A brief... Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments