The Rottweiler

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"The first young woman murdered had a bite mark on her neck, prompting the media to dub her killer "The Rottweiler." As the number of killings grows to two, three, and beyond, that nickname sticks, even though it has become clear that the original bite was incidental. The Rottweiler is a serial garroter, distinguished by his habit of taking a small trinket from each victim as a macabre souvenir." The strangled young women all lived in the same ethnically diverse London neighborhood near Lisson Grove, so it is here that the police focus their
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The Rottweiler

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Overview

"The first young woman murdered had a bite mark on her neck, prompting the media to dub her killer "The Rottweiler." As the number of killings grows to two, three, and beyond, that nickname sticks, even though it has become clear that the original bite was incidental. The Rottweiler is a serial garroter, distinguished by his habit of taking a small trinket from each victim as a macabre souvenir." The strangled young women all lived in the same ethnically diverse London neighborhood near Lisson Grove, so it is here that the police focus their investigation. Soon their suspicions lead them to an antiques shop, where items taken from the victims start turning up amid the clutter. As we get acquainted with the odd assortment of characters who work in and pass through the shop, we sense that one of them will be the Rottweiler's next victim... unless the meticulous killer makes an uncharacteristic mistake.
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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review
A serial killer is loose in London, one who strangles his female victims and then takes a small trinket from each one as a morbid keepsake. The police are stumped -- until the jewelry begins turning up in an antiques shop.

The owner of Star Antiques, Inez Ferry, a 55-year-old widow still trying to come to grips with the loss of her beloved husband, also rents the apartments above the store to a diversity of less than savory middle-class characters. After Ferry finds the items and contacts the authorities, the plodding local detectives eventually come around asking questions but add little more to the case. As fear of the Rottweiler (the media's ill-described nickname for the killer) spreads, the police begin scrutinizing Ferry's employees and tenants. One tenant in particular, a learning-disabled handyman named Will Cobbett, is tagged a suspect for his unusual behavior. But as Cobbett is being interrogated, the real killer is walking the streets, desperately trying to recall what suppressed experience in his past (if any) compels him to kill.

Longtime Ruth Rendell fans will be delighted with The Rottweiler, a masterfully complex psychological thriller powered by a cast of brilliantly developed characters, heart-wrenching subplots, and enough insight into the machinations of the criminal mind to satisfy even the darkest heart. Larded throughout with irony, cynicism, and biting wit, The Rottweiler is yet another masterwork from a master storyteller. Paul Goat Allen

Janet Maslin
The Rottweiler is an especially sure-handed mystery novel from Ruth Rendell, arriving 40 years after the publication of her first one. Though it has the infelicitous name of a dog, this book is more of a cat-and-mouse affair. Ms. Rendell does an especially neat job of toying with the reader.
— The New York Times
Library Journal
A killer called the Rottweiller (you get the picture) steals trinkets from his victims that start turning up in a little London antiques shop. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
From the Publisher
"Classic Rendell, macabre and fast-paced, the kind of tale that makes you look twice at the shadows and dark corners of your own street. Grade: A." --Entertainment Weekly"Clever. . . . Especially sure-handed. . . . An expert, teasing mystery." --The New York Times "One of the few don't-miss authors in the genre. . . . Ruth Rendell is one of those writers one reads for the sheer joy of the way she puts words together. . . . The novel is superbly crafted. Read it when you have plenty of time to savor its many delights." -- The Plain Dealer"The British master of style, suspense, complexity and creepy villains...Rendell is the perfect storyteller. . . . If you read only one novel this year, make it The Rottweiler." --The Orlando Sentinel"Powerful and appealing.... [Rendell] has the mystery form down pat." --The Washington Post"Ruth Rendell's books always rise to the top. She's so good..... In her quiet, silken-noose way, Rendell illuminates these people, traces their intersecting paths, and gives them meaning and substance." --The Seattle Times"Rendell is a master of the tires-on-ice moment, the moment when the intersecting elements begin their inexorable slide into calamity.... [Her] body of work...constitutes one of the most precise and unflinching contributions to contemporary English fiction." --Salon "Subtle, witty, and observant, Rendell creates a rich tapestry of characters and interweaves their stories.... The story of the killer provides the adrenaline, but the smaller stories of Becky, Inez, Zeinab, and the rest give this novel a beating heart." --The Boston Globe"Rendell's prose is incisive and clear, peeling away the complex layers that her characters, no matter how ordinary they appear, actually possess." --The Baltimore Sun"The author trains a...penetrating eye on the psychology behind her characters' foibles.... Even the most innocent secrets...have a function in the macabre scenario that ultimately flushes out the killer." --The New York Times Book Review"As usual, Rendell presents an intricate and intriguing story with a penetrating glimpse into the sometimes evil, sometimes pitiable, but always fascinating depths of human nature." --San Diego Union-Tribune"[Proves] again that, in the world of contemporary crime fiction, Rendell really is top dog." --The Times (London)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780091799519
  • Publisher: Random House Adult Trade Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 1/1/2003
  • Pages: 384

Meet the Author

Ruth Rendell
Dame Ruth Rendell has been a serial award winner since she won her first Edgar in 1975. The first of several Gold Dagger awards came in 1976, for A Demon in My View. She was made a Life Peer in 1997.

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

Read an Excerpt

A series of apparently motiveless murders disrupts the lives of some very different people in Rendell’s darkly atmospheric London.
The first victim was discovered with a bite on her neck. The police traced the DNA to the girl’s boyfriend, but the tabloids had already dubbed the murderer “The Rottweiler,” and the name stuck. The latest body was found near Inez Ferry’s shop in Marylebone. Someone spotted a figure fleeing into the shadows, but couldn’t say even if it was man or woman. The only other clues are the murderer’s penchant for strangling his prey, and for then removing a small token -- a necklace, a lighter.
To make ends meet, widowed Inez Ferry takes in tenants above her antique store. The unpredictable and obsessive acts of the serial murderer begin profoundly to disturb the lives of the heterogeneous little community of lodgers, especially when suspicion grows that one of them might be “The Rottweiler.”

Author Biography: Dame Ruth Rendell has been a serial award winner since she won her first Edgar in 1975. The first of several Gold Dagger awards came in 1976, for A Demon in My View. She was made a Life Peer in 1997.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 9 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 9 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 1, 2008

    A reviewer

    I have only recently 'discovered' Ruth Rendell for myself, and after a half dozen books find that they are suspenseful while never resorting to predictability. You know mid-way who the culprit is, but it is never clear how things will end for him or her. Meanwhile, there are always a host of other characters who you are just as interested in finding out how their lives will turn out. It is her character development that always pulls me along. That--and knowing that things won't necessarily work out in a happily-ever-after scenario, even if you've come to like a particular character. That's how life is. On a side note, I always enjoy Rendell's books for the glimpse they give me as an American of life in London, complete with unfamiliar turns of phrase--what is a 'bank' holiday, anyway?--and other British society customs. Rendell is always entertaining.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 28, 2006

    Not the Best for Rendell

    I am definitely a fan of Ruth Rendell. This book still was well written and she did a great job developing the characters. The plot was interesting and it was not predictable. The only problem that I found it was more drawn out than I felt was necessary.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 11, 2005

    Loved this one!

    I am an avid reader of Rendell's books and this one was no exception to her best. Excellent character development made this book so much fun to read. It takes you into the inner psyches of each seemingly ordinary person and into the inner core of a psychotic killer. It's so not about the whodunnit but the why. Literate and suspenseful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 30, 2004

    Superb writer at the top of her form

    There is often a slightly disturbing undertone at the start of Ruth Rendell's novels. The reader is a little on edge, wondering which character is as s/he seems to be. As The Rottweiler's plot unfolds, this sense of unease gives way to a compelling fascination with characters and story. A murderer stalks a London neighborhood garroting young women; even the killer does not understand this compulsion to destroy. Eventually the evil deeds come home to roost, and the tension ratchets up even higher in this psychological thriller. Not just the killer's story is told; there are numerous other characters, some sympathetic, some not, whose lives intertwine with the murderer's, and who have their own problems and pleasures. Ms. Rendell's storytelling is taut, relentless, and irresistible - I highly recommend her latest work.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Great thriller

    In London, the first victim had a bite on her neck so the media dubbed the killer The Rottweiler¿, but that is so far from the truth about this murderer for the next two fatalities failed to include the bite. Instead the serial killer uses a garrote on his or her prey and takes an object from the deceased. Somehow these objec.ts end up in Inez Ferry's antique shop................... The police investigate everyone associated with Inez especially the boarders who reside in a home owned by Inez. Still the killer is clever making no mistakes as the count rises and the collectables show up in her shop. Inez wonders which one of her boarders, friends, or customers is the Rottweiler as she decides she must uncover this serial killer who has made her life a notorious mess before he or she adds her to the count?.............................. The incredible cast including a gloomy London that feels like a Ripper scenario makes this serial killer novel fill the audience with tension that never eases up even when the tale is finished. Several individuals seem sane yet on edge, which obviously can be a result of the murder spree in their neighborhood, but also leads readers and Inez to wonder which one is the killer although the former will not rule out the latter though the culprit appears to be a male. Fans of intense taut thrillers will appreciate Ruth Rendell¿s atmospheric murder mystery................ Harriet Klausner

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 4, 2004

    Outstanding trip into the human psyche

    Once again Ruth Rendell has succeeded in creating a work of wonderfully 'normal' characters that live on the edge of sanity. She is a master at creating multi-faceted characters that are believable and likeable until you get to know some of them better. I so admire and enjoy her understanding of the human psyche in the creation of characters that illustrate we are all just a little bit different.

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    Posted January 11, 2011

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    Posted April 29, 2009

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    Posted February 19, 2012

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