2007: 162. The Minotaur

“One of the women buying amber was so much like Mrs. Cosway that it gave me a shock to see her.”

The Minotaur, Barbara Vine

Another Ruth Rendell writing as Barbara Vine psychological thriller (see e.g. Anna’s Book), this one tells the story of Kerstin, a young Swedish girl who take a job as a nurse in an English village, only to be caught up in the strangeness of the family she works for - bitter Mrs. Cosway, controlling her children, her three daughters living and home under her thumb, and one in the world on her own, and her son John, who Kerstin was hired to care for.  The Cosways explain his behavior as madness, and have him drugged to the gills, but Kerstin (pronounced Shastin, though the Cosways refuse to say it that way) has her doubts about what John’s real problem are.  Like all of Barbara Vine’s work, this novel is less a mystery, and more a psychological story - the only mystery being told is the gradual understanding of what happened to these strange people and why the ultimate tragedy transpired.  Vine is so good and creating these situations and showing how people’s characters contain their destinies.   This is not the best Vine - I prefer A Dark Adapted Eye, Anna’s Book , and The Chimney Sweeper’s Boy, but if you liked those you would enjoy this book.


Recommended for: People who like other Vine, people who are less interested in solving what happened in a mystery and more interested in finding out why it happened.


Date/Place Completed: 10/17/07, D.C.

Categories: Fiction; Library Book; Ruth Rendell Project

© Carrie Dunsmore 2017