Blood Lines: Long and Short Stories

Blood Lines: Long and Short Stories

by Ruth Rendell
     
 

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In "Blood Relations," the first story in this collection, the tranquility of a small bucolic community is shattered by a young woman's discovery of her step-father's brutally beaten body. The woman adamantly denies knowing the identity of the murderer, but Chief Inspector Wexford remains steadfast in his belief that his primary suspects include the man's own family.… See more details below

Overview

In "Blood Relations," the first story in this collection, the tranquility of a small bucolic community is shattered by a young woman's discovery of her step-father's brutally beaten body. The woman adamantly denies knowing the identity of the murderer, but Chief Inspector Wexford remains steadfast in his belief that his primary suspects include the man's own family. Wexford patiently unravels the skein of events revealing evidence of spousal abuse, infidelity, avarice, and betrayal. In "Burning End," a woman unfairly burdened with the duty of nursing her bedridden mother-in-law discovers a fire hazard in the old woman's farmhouse. Then fate steps in and teaches a hard lesson about the sometimes fickle injustice of guilt.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This riveting group of stories puts the reader into familiar Rendell territory; not just the burgeoning villages of Kingsmarkham and Stowerton that Chief Constable Wexford and his assistant, Mike Burden, call their own, but the territory of the mind. Psychological twists evolve from characters who range from the mildly eccentric ("In All Honesty") to the truly mad ("Shreds and Slivers"). Rendell's deft touch and keen insight (and sometimes wry wit) can wring abject horror from even the smallest vignette. The compulsive shopper of "Clothes" experiences a total emotional collapse. In "Unacceptable Levels," is the caring young woman really trying to kill her lover? The longer title story brings back the uxorious Wexford and the grimly judgmental Burden who solve a bludgeoning death in their usual manner: dogged police work rewarded with a flash of insight. The true gem of the collection is "The Strawberry Tree," a chilling tale filled with foreboding and graced by a final, unexpected redemption. These finely constructed and intense stories will serve Rendell's fans, accustomed to her substantial volumes like last year's Simisola, as a tasty appetizer, heightening their anticipation of the heartier fare to come in her next novel. (June)
Library Journal
This collection of contemporary, subtle, and sometimes horrific stories by that most cerebral of English mystery writers, Rendell (e.g., Put On by Cunning, LJ 6/1/96), is a listener's delight. A cast of readers including Michael Page and Sharon Williams represent a chorus of perfect voices performing the various tales, which range from country working-class acts of passion to restrained, clinical murder among calculating members of Britain's upper crust. One story, "Unacceptable Levels," is so subtle that listeners may find themselves rewinding their cassettes in order to catch the unspoken murder plot. Another, "The Strawberry Tree," is beautiful in its pacing, as slow and embracing as a Majorcan breeze from the island upon which the story is set. The Rendell style has never been more affecting than here. Recommended.Mark P. Tierney, The World Bank, Washington, D.C.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780517703236
Publisher:
Crown Publishing Group
Publication date:
06/03/1996
Pages:
215
Product dimensions:
5.83(w) x 8.64(h) x 0.94(d)

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