Blood Lines: Long and Short Stories

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 ...
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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.
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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.
From Barnes & Noble
A collection of eleven inspired long and short stories from Rendell, whose brilliant tales of mystery and wrongdoing shine their light into the dark places of the human psyche where desire, denial, and deception are the motivating forces.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781561008810
  • Publisher: Brilliance Audio
  • Publication date: 6/28/1996
  • Format: Cassette
  • Edition description: Abridged
  • Product dimensions: 4.35 (w) x 7.03 (h) x 0.67 (d)

Meet the Author

Ruth Rendell

Ruth Rendell is the recipient of several awards, including three Edgars and four Gold Daggers from the UK's Crime Writers' Association. Simisola, Blood Lines, Keys to the Street, and The Brimstone Wedding (written as Barbara Vine) are available from Brilliance Audio. She lives in England.

Biography

From the start of her illustrious career, Ruth Rendell's novels have blurred the distinction between literature and commercial fiction. Although Rendell is classified as a writer of mysteries and crime thrillers, her elegant prose and superb literary skills elevate her far above the conventions of those genres.

Born Ruth Barbara Grasemann in London in 1930, she attended the Loughton County High School for Girls in Essex, then went to work as a features writer for the Essex newspapers. In 1950, she married her boss at the newspaper, journalist Donald Rendell. (They divorced in 1975, remarried two years later, and remained together until his death in 1999.) For the next decade, she juggled marriage, motherhood, and part-time writing. She produced at least two unpublished novels before hitting pay dirt in 1964 with From Doon with Death, the first mystery to feature Chief Inspector Reginald 'Reg' Wexford of the Kingsmarkham Police Force. An immediate bestseller, the book launched Rendell's career and marked the beginning of one of the most successful and enduring series in detective fiction.

In 1965, Rendell published her second novel, a deft crime thriller (with no police presence) entitled To Fear a Painted Devil. For 20 years, she was content to alternate installments in the Wexford series with a steady stream of bestselling standalones that explored darker themes like envy, sexual obsession, and the tragic repercussions of miscommunication. Then, in 1986, she began a third strand of fiction under the name Barbara Vine. The very first of these books, A Dark-Adapted Eye, earned a prestigious Edgar Award.

From the get-go, the pseudonymous Vine novels had a separate DNA, although Rendell has always had difficulty pinpointing the distinction. In an interview with NPR, she tried to explain: "I don't think the Barbara Vines are mysteries in any sense. I must say that. They are different, and that is partly how I decide. The idea would come to me and I would know at once whether it was to be a Barbara Vine or a Ruth Rendell ... The Barbara Vine is much more slowly paced. It is a much more in-depth, searching sort of book; it doesn't necessarily have a murder in it. It's almost always set partly in the past, sometimes quite a long way in the past. And I think all these things come together and make them very different from the Ruth Rendells."

Under both names, Rendell has garnered numerous awards, including three American Edgars and multiple Gold and Silver Daggers from England's distinguished Crime Writers' Association. In 1996, she was made a Commander of the British Empire; and in 1997, a Life Peerage was conferred on her as Baroness Rendell of Babergh. Although, in her own words, she was "slightly stunned" by the peerage, she takes her responsibilities quite seriously, writing in the mornings and attending the House of Lords several afternoons a week.

Praise for Rendell is lavish and seemingly unqualified. John Mortimer once proclaimed that she would surely have won the Booker if she had not been pigeonholed as a "crime writer." Nobel Laureate Toni Morrison has identified Rendell as one of her favorite authors. And Joyce Carol Oates has called her "one of the finest practitioners of the craft in the English-speaking world."

Good To Know

While working as a journalist, Rendell once reported on a local club's annual dinner without actually attending. Her story omitted the crucial fact that the after-dinner speaker had dropped dead at the podium in the middle of his speech! She resigned before being fired.

The pseudonym Barbara Vine derives from the combination of Rendell's middle name and her great-grandmother's maiden name.

"I wouldn't keep my age a secret even if I had the chance," Rendell has said. "But I don't have the chance. Regularly, on February 17, the newspapers tell their readers my age."

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    1. Also Known As:
      Barbara Vine
    1. Date of Birth:
      February 17, 1930
    2. Place of Birth:
      London, England
    1. Education:
      Loughton County High School for Girls, Essex

Table of Contents

Blood Lines 1
Lizzie's Lover 41
Burning End 47
The Carer 61
The Man Who Was the God of Love 69
Expectations 83
Shreds and Slivers 89
Clothes 95
Unacceptable Levels 109
In All Honesty 113
The Strawberry Tree 131
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