In the High Peaks

Friday, July 15, 2011

Ruth Rendell--Barbara Vine: My New Find

Yesterday I picked up Barbara Vine's (aka British crime writer Ruth Rendell's) The House of Stairs, a psychological thriller published in 1988, the third title Rendell published using the pseudonym Barbara Vine. I'm already more than halfway through the 280-page book. It's thoroughly entertaining and smart--I realized early on I'd better keep my wits about me to follow the intricate plot and the dozens of characters. But what a picturesque world Rendell creates in the Notting Hill of the late 60s and 70s and 80s! (For an in-depth interview with Rendell, Google search "Ruth Rendell interview." The Times article comes up first, at least for me.

I've never read a word by Ruth Rendell before and knew nothing of her until this summer. Discovering new mystery writers has been an ongoing challenge this summer, and I'm happy to have found the Barbara Vine books. I'm not sure if her Wexford books, written under her own name, would interest me, but I'd be curious to hear what other people have to say about her writing.

A glorious summer morning for hiking and bushwhacking, like yesterday. Plenty warm but not too hot, not too humid. Sasha is learning how to bushwhack (hiking through the woods, through brush and fallen debris without benefit of a trail). She's learning what to do when an obstacle is blocking her path. I coax her. "Sasha, you have to go over it or around it--that's bushwhacking. I'm not carrying you through the woods." She's catching on and loves all the smells in the forest.


  1. I liked Inspector Wexford far less but I love her stand alone novels. I read a few some years back but then Danielle recommended A Judgement in Stone last year which is fanatstic. Later someone recommended The Tree of Hands which also extremely good and now I have another recommendation waiting The Brimstone Wedding. I'm really looking forward to reading it. I will keep this one in mind as well.

  2. Caroline,
    I'm glad you mentioned your feelings about the Wexford novels. I felt leary of them based on what I've read about them--just not my cup of darjeeling at all. But I'm going to add the other titles you've listed to my "WannaRead" list. Thank you!