2009: 29. Piranha To Scurfy

“It was the first time he had been on a holiday without Mummy.  The first time in his life.”

~ First lines of “Piranha to Scurfy”

Piranha To Scurfy: Stories, Ruth Rendell

I really, really enjoyed this short story collection by Ruth Rendell (and I really, really, really enjoyed her Collected Stories, which I read recently and will probably blog about in July, at the rate I’m going).  Specifically, I felt that the one major complaint that I have with some of her fiction,* the part where she focuses on these creepy sociopaths that I just don’t want to spend a novel-length book with, disappear with her short fiction.  Even the creepiest characters work in the context of a punchy suspenseful short story.  Which is not to suggest that these are formulaic crime short stories.  While they occasionally drift a bit to the O Henry-esque, with a bit of a twist (and I might be conflating with the other short story I book, which was most recently), these stories are so much more.  The title story, “Piranha to Scurfy” which is about a pedantic middle aged man trying to make a life after his mother dies, and we slowly learn how creepy he really is, is a psychological gem.  “The Wink” and “The Beach Butler” tells us that revenge is a dish best served cold.  The only one I didn’t like was “High Mysterious Union” which is more of a creepy fantasy story than a regular creepy mystery story, but other than that I loved this book.

* though not all by any stretch of the imagination or I wouldn’t be doing the Ruth Rendell Project!


Date/Place Completed: February 2009; D.C.

Categories: Fiction; Ruth Rendell Project

© Carrie Dunsmore 2017