Ruth Rendell, A Sight for Sore Eyes
Ruth Rendell will always be treasured for her outstanding contribution to crime fiction. It is not always recognised that her writing pushed the boundaries of crime further and she inspired many to follow her into crime writing, such the late Michael Dibden and Val McDermid. This is a stand alone novel which received outstanding reviews. Our signed edition contains an appreciation by the American author of the Mallory detective novels, Carol O’Connell.
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Ruth Rendell began her esteemed Wexford police procedural series with From Doon to Death (1964). Her output has been prolific, high quality and its subject matter increasingly exposed important social concerns. Ruth kept her work fresh by alternating between Wexford and the Kingsmarkham setting and the blacker urban psychological thrillers, and from the 80s her deeper more expansive, Barbara Vine novels. The more recent stand-alone thrillers are for some critics and fans the most absorbing and devastating in impact. A Sight for Sore Eyes (1998) received outstanding reviews – that one posted by Murder Ink is not an exception.
Plotline: A Sight for Sore Eyes tells three stories, and for the longest time, the reader has no inkling of how they will come together. The first is a story of a little girl who has been scolded and sent to her room when her mother is brutally murdered; as Francine grows up, she is haunted by the experience, and it is years before she even speaks. Secondly, we become privy to the life of a young man, Teddy, born of unthinking young parents, who grows up almost completely ignored. Free of societal mores, he becomes a sociopath, who eventually discovers that killing can be an effective way to get what he wants. Thirdly, we meet Harriet, who from an early age has learned to use her beauty to make her way in the world. Bored by marriage to a wealthy, much older man, she scans the local newspapers for handymen to perform odd jobs around the house, including services in the bedroom. When these three plots strands finally converge, the result is harrowing and unforgettable. A Sight for Sore Eyes is not just the work of a writer at the peak of her craft. It is an extraordinary story by a writer who, after 45 books, countless awards, and decades of international acclaim, is still getting better with every book.
The exceptional American psychological and suspense writer of bestsellers Carol O’Connell says in her Appreciation of Ruth Rendell: “in other works beyond the detective format, she delivers you into the world of the suspense novel, rooted in Edgar Allen Poe, his pit and his pendulum”. She recognises that it is in this broader format that the characters drive the plot. This edition was published as a signed limited edition of 99 ordinary copies and 15 deluxe for private distribution.