Veteran crime writer Ruth Rendell celebrates 50 years of Inspector Wexford books, and discusses her new novel The Girl Next Door.
Claire Hazelton wrote in The Observer: “Shortly before the second world war, a man nicknamed Woody murders his wife and his wife’s lover. In an act of psychopathy, he cuts off the couple’s hands and buries them, in a cookie jar, in tunnels that the local children play in. Veteran crime writer Ruth Rendell’s new novel, The Girl Next Door, is strangely detached from the crime it opens with. Set 70 years later, when the hands of the victims are unearthed, it focuses not on the murder but on the children — now elderly — who are reunited by the resulting criminal investigation. Although mysteries from their pasts are revealed as memories are pieced together, Rendell is more interested in the new relationships formed within the group.
“Instead of exploring psychopathy as one might have expected, Rendell gives an acutely observed portrayal of old age through her characters’ regrets, losses and bewilderment. Her realism renders the novel bleak at times but moving too. Difficult themes such as death, usually dressed up in mystery in a crime novel, are real, hard-hitting and constant.”
Natasha Devon’s event is available to watch on YouTube or on @PanMacmillan Instagram TV channel until 24 June and she will be doing a live Q & A on Monday 1 June at 6 pm on Pan Macmillan’s Instagram channel. You can order Natasha’s book by email to email@example.com or call 020 8552 9993.
Are you locked down with children in years 5 or 6? We have four lessons for classroom or family use developed from On the Record’s oral history project centered around Newham Bookshop, Writing and Reading Newham. Click here for full details.
Michael Rosen’s poem, These Are The Hands, features in a book of poems from the heart of the NHS, which has just been published.