2011: 14. To Fear A Painted Devil

“He was nine.  It was his first morning in England and he began to wonder if all English houses were like this one, large yet with small rooms, full of things that no one could use:”

To Fear a Painted Devil, Ruth Rendell

        This is one of Rendell’s very first books, and it’s a decent mystery, though not very Rendell-y - it is much more a traditional who dunnit than what she usually writes (especially out of the Inspector Wexford context).  The novel takes place in a new development of luxury houses that was built on the grounds of an old estate.  We start by setting up the relationships - the unhappily married couple, the affairs, the struggling businessman, and then we get to the big party, where things happen! and that night - MURDER.  Like I said, very traditional.  But even so, it’s well written - like all Rendell, and the characters largely seem real and believable. I found the solution to the mystery a little rushed - like all of a sudden she thought, oops, I have to solve this thing, but I quite enjoyed it, and will likely read it again someday. 

Categories: Ruth Rendell Project

© Carrie Dunsmore 2017