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Ruth Rendell

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ENTERTAINMENT
October 7, 2012 | By Jonathan Shapiro
The St. Zita Society A Novel Ruth Rendell Scribner: 272 pp., $26 If you're unfamiliar with Ruth Rendell, if you've somehow managed to miss her 60 or so books, if you've never experienced the frisson produced by her unique blend of elegant prose and brutal plotting or laughed out loud at her acidic humor or social observations, then congratulations: Your reading life is about to get infinitely richer. Reviewing mysteries is a bit like dissecting a butterfly to explain the wonder of its flight.
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ENTERTAINMENT
October 7, 2012 | By Jonathan Shapiro
The St. Zita Society A Novel Ruth Rendell Scribner: 272 pp., $26 If you're unfamiliar with Ruth Rendell, if you've somehow managed to miss her 60 or so books, if you've never experienced the frisson produced by her unique blend of elegant prose and brutal plotting or laughed out loud at her acidic humor or social observations, then congratulations: Your reading life is about to get infinitely richer. Reviewing mysteries is a bit like dissecting a butterfly to explain the wonder of its flight.
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BOOKS
November 30, 1986 | Charles Champlin
Women who write crime novels well are almost inevitably described as successors to Agatha Christie, the once and future queen of the field. Both Ruth Rendell and P. D. James have been identified as heiresses-apparent, and they are both by a considerable distance the best practitioners of the crime novel now working in England. But Dame Agatha was a puzzle-maker rather than a plot-maker.
ENTERTAINMENT
October 7, 2009 | Tim Rutten
At a drinks party in London last summer, Ruth Rendell seemed to let slip to a reporter from the Telegraph that "The Monster in the Box" would be the last in her long series of detective novels featuring Chief Inspector Reg Wexford. The report seemed credible -- not only because of the new book's retrospective character, but also because Rendell, a writer of striking breadth and ambition, in recent years sometimes has seemed to regard Wexford as the sort of fictional burden Holmes became to Conan Doyle.
NEWS
January 5, 1994 | JONATHAN KIRSCH, SPECIAL TO THE TIMES
"The Crocodile Bird" starts with a beguiling first line--"The world began to fall apart at nine in the evening"--and, within a dozen pages or so, we are drawn into an elaborate labyrinth where seduction and betrayal, rape and murder are to be glimpsed in every dark corner. Our guide through the maze is young Liza Beck, not yet 17, whom we first encounter as she is thrust out of a fairy-tale setting where she has been raised by her mother, Eve.
NEWS
June 3, 1992 | LYNN SIMROSS, TIMES STAFF WRITER
Ruth Barbara Grasemann spent much of her childhood terrified that people would catch on to the potential--and dreadful--nickname hidden in her first and middle names. "I was afraid people would call me Rubarb," she recalls. "I was a precocious infant. I saw it right away and shook with fear that somebody would catch on. Nobody ever did." As an author, those names have served her well.
ENTERTAINMENT
October 7, 2009 | Tim Rutten
At a drinks party in London last summer, Ruth Rendell seemed to let slip to a reporter from the Telegraph that "The Monster in the Box" would be the last in her long series of detective novels featuring Chief Inspector Reg Wexford. The report seemed credible -- not only because of the new book's retrospective character, but also because Rendell, a writer of striking breadth and ambition, in recent years sometimes has seemed to regard Wexford as the sort of fictional burden Holmes became to Conan Doyle.
BOOKS
March 28, 1999 | EUGEN WEBER, Eugen Weber writes Book Review's monthly column "L.A. Confidential," devoted to mysteries and thrillers. His latest book, "Apocalypses," will be published by Harvard University Press this spring
A television personality battered to death and abandoned in a dumpster in South-Central L.A.; a music mogul pulling bloody strings; a cast of menacing thugs, corrupt shysters, misleading suspects: What else is new? Not much, except the author. Once a player in the O.J. Simpson follies, now a fictioneer, Christopher Darden commits a police procedural with lots of police and little procedure. Who murdered TV's tabloid queen and where? Who is leaking information and disinformation?
BOOKS
June 28, 1987 | Ross Thomas, Thomas' new novel, "Out on the Rim," will be published in the fall by The Mysterious Press
British novelists still seem to retain their virtual monopoly of murder mysteries and detective stories that take place in particularly genteel settings and are called "cozies" because there is something so reassuringly familiar and repetitive about most of them. In the classic cozy, some sort of crime takes place, frequently a murder, often in the English countryside. An outside investigator, either amateur or professional, is lugged in by the author willy-nilly to help the well-meaning but understaffed or incompetent local constabulary with its inquiries.
NEWS
April 11, 1986 | SHELLY LOWENKOPF, Lowenkopf is a former regional president of the Mystery Writers of America. He is embarked on a mystery, "L.A.--Go Home."
The New Girlfriend and Other Stories by Ruth Rendell (Pantheon: $13.95) Ruth Rendell is the state of the art in mystery, suspense and crime writing. She can produce riveting works of detection such as "Death Notes" and "Sins of the Fathers," which test the patience and abilities of chief inspector Reg Wexford, her cranky, satisfyingly notional small-town cop.
ENTERTAINMENT
June 14, 2008 | Michael Sims, Special to The Times
In 1964, Ruth Rendell's first published novel, "From Doon With Death," gave us Reginald Wexford, a police inspector in Kingsmarkham, which the British author once described as "a sizable town somewhere in the middle of Sussex." He stars in a third of Rendell's more than 60 novels and appears in two short story collections. The Wexford series boasts such masterpieces as "A Sleeping Life," "Simisola" and "Harm Done," which stand in any lineup of crime fiction classics.
BOOKS
January 18, 2004 | Eugen Weber, Eugen Weber is a contributing writer to Book Review.
In Ethan Black's splendid "Dead for Life," an innocent New York cop is pilloried for dereliction of duty. A raging, resourceful, persistent cur -- determined to liquidate his prey for no evident reason -- claims that responsibility for his murders lies with Det. Conrad Voort. To save his honor and his career, Voort must discover the killer's motivation and foil his plans.
BOOKS
November 21, 1999 | EUGEN WEBER, Eugen Weber is the author, most recently, of "Apocalypses."
In "Harm Done," an aged pedophile is released from prison, and the good folk of Kingsmarkham, in Sussex, England, fear for their offspring. First one young woman, then another disappears only to reappear apparently unmolested but reluctant or unable to reveal what happened to them. And while Chief Inspector Wexford of the local police plumbs these puzzles, a 3-year-old also vanishes under equally mysterious circumstances.
ENTERTAINMENT
January 4, 1995 | HOWARD ROSENBERG
Those waxing euphoric about all British television haven't seen much British television. What the Brits do well, however, they do very well. And what they do well (most of the time) are mysteries. Just why U.S. television comes up short in this sphere (anyone voting for that CBS second-rater "Murder, She Wrote" should lay off the New Year's punch) is itself a puzzle. Perhaps at fault is mainstream U.S.
NEWS
January 5, 1994 | JONATHAN KIRSCH, SPECIAL TO THE TIMES
"The Crocodile Bird" starts with a beguiling first line--"The world began to fall apart at nine in the evening"--and, within a dozen pages or so, we are drawn into an elaborate labyrinth where seduction and betrayal, rape and murder are to be glimpsed in every dark corner. Our guide through the maze is young Liza Beck, not yet 17, whom we first encounter as she is thrust out of a fairy-tale setting where she has been raised by her mother, Eve.
BOOKS
November 21, 1993 | CHARLES CHAMPLIN
It seems clearer every year that Ruth Rendell is the best writer of crime fiction now working in English on either side of the Atlantic. What is remarkable--no; what is astonishing--about her writing is not simply that she is so prolific but that her work is so unfailingly original from one book to the next, so carefully written and so mesmerizingly interesting in its plotting and revelation of character.
ENTERTAINMENT
January 4, 1995 | HOWARD ROSENBERG
Those waxing euphoric about all British television haven't seen much British television. What the Brits do well, however, they do very well. And what they do well (most of the time) are mysteries. Just why U.S. television comes up short in this sphere (anyone voting for that CBS second-rater "Murder, She Wrote" should lay off the New Year's punch) is itself a puzzle. Perhaps at fault is mainstream U.S.
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