The Rottweiler

The Rottweiler

3.6 9
by Ruth Rendell

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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…  See more details below


"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.

Editorial Reviews
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

Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
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Random House
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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.

Meet the Author

Ruth Rendell has been awarded three Edgars for best novel from the Mystery Writers of America, as well as the Grand Master Award. In England, the Crime Writer’s Association has honored her with three Gold Daggers for best novel, a Silver Dagger, and a Diamond Dagger for outstanding contribution to the genre. She lives in London.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Brief Biography

Date of Birth:
February 17, 1930
Place of Birth:
London, England
Loughton County High School for Girls, Essex

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Rottweiler 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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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Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
harstan More than 1 year ago
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