2009: 38. The Keys to the Street

Iron spikes surmount each of the gates into the park, twenty-seven of them on some, eighteen or eleven on others.”

The Keys to the Street, Ruth Rendell

This is a non-Wexford novel by Rendell.  It is the story of a series of murders taking place in Regent’s Park, London, where homeless people are being found gruesomely impaled on the park’s fence.  But it is also the story of quiet pretty Mary Jago, who leaves her overbearing boyfriend, and goes to housesit for a friend of her grandmother’s on the edge of that park.  She has fallen in love with a man she barely knows, the only connection being the bone marrow she donated to him a year before.  And it’s the story of Bean, the nosy, slightly criminal dog walker, trying to get ahead by snooping around his wealthy clients private lives.  Finally, its the story of Roman, who lost his family in a tragic accident and walked away from his life and becomes a street person, unable to face civilization without those he loves.  Rendell twists these peoples lives together with the story of the killings, until they all come to one shocking climax.


Really enjoyed this one - I loved how the crime was almost secondary to the lives of the people in the story, and I loved how each person’s story was so different and still compelling.  Even the people you don’t care for - like the dreadful Bean (and Mary’s awful ex)- seem real and their motivation understandable.  I had read this before and forgotten how much I liked this one.  It’s almost more like a Barbara Vine than a Ruth Rendell, with the psychological piece - and that is meant to be a complement from this blogger.


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

Categories: Fiction; Ruth Rendell Project

© Carrie Dunsmore 2017