The Killing Doll
By (author) Ruth Rendell
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Killing Doll by Ruth Rendell
Book DescriptionThe winter before he was sixteen, amateur magician Pup made a Faustian pact and sold his soul to the devil. He wasn't quite sure what he was going to get in exchange. Pup's older sister, Dolly, is manically obsessed with her birthmark, believing it is responsible for her status as a social outcast. She becomes pathologically transfixed by Pup's dabbling in magic, desperate to believe he has occult powers that can cure her disfigurement, improve their lives, and kill their stepmother. As Dolly's obsession grows, a young mentally disturbed Irishman lurks just around the corner, inseparable from his sharpened set of knives...In this intense and deeply disturbing novel, Ruth Rendell explores a haunted world of obsession, delusions and murderous fantasy, with dazzling virtuosity.
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Book DetailsISBN: 9780099399506
(179mm x 111mm x 18mm)
Imprint: Arrow Books Ltd
Publish Date: 2-Mar-1995
Country of Publication: United Kingdom
Books By Author Ruth Rendell
Keys to the Street, Paperback (June 2016)View all books by Ruth Rendell
Mary Jago has donated her bone marrow to save the life of a complete stranger. Moving to the affluent edge of London's famous Regent's Park, Mary believes she has finally escaped the threat of violence. She never thought that one simple act of kindness could put her own life in mortal danger...
US Kirkus Review » Rendell returns to her favorite psychological-suspense device here: two separate story-lines that will eventually overlap - with fatal results. And, also as before (Lake of Darkness, Master of the Moor), Rendell's quiet English setting harbors a surprising, slightly excessive number of criss-crossing nut-cases. The principal plot focuses on the London-suburb household of mousey businessman Harold Yearman, whose wife has just died - leaving behind a strange, devoted pair of siblings: Dolly, in her 20s, a withdrawn innocent, psychically scarred by a large facial birthmark; and her teenage brother "Pup," short and insecure, who becomes bookishly obsessed with witchcraft, casting spells in his mini-temple upstairs. But then, while Dolly (a wine alcoholic, ever more disturbed) comes to believe utterly in Pup's abracadabra, Pup himself soon grows taller, discovers sex - and no longer needs the occult outlet. Will he, nonetheless, keep doing magic for Dolly's benefit? Yes, he will - because he loves her. . . and because his supposed witchcraft-club meetings give him a cover for his many amorous assignations. (Dolly is shocked, jealous, at each hint of Pup's sex-life.) So, when father Harold marries the youngish, vulgar Myra, Dolly persuades Pup to cast an evil spell on their "wicked stepmother" - who does indeed quite promptly die. (The real cause: a botched attempt at self-abortion.) This, of course, only reaffirms Dolly's faith in Pup's powers. And when Dolly's new, first-ever friend, lovely Yvonne, reveals that her husband is deep in a homosexual affair, wacko Dolly - now hallucinating like crazy, hearing voices - insists that Pup come up with a spell to kill off Yvonne's gay rival. But it's Dolly herself who finally does non-magical murder. . . unhinged by jealousy (Pup and Yvonne pair off), alcoholism, paranoia, and - when Pup won't magically remove her birthmark - bitter disappointment. Where's the second story-line, you ask? Well, Dolly will predictably meet her violent end from a neighborhood maniac - whose psychotic doings are dropped in now and again. And this contrived subplot is a significant flaw here. But, if less masterful than the best Rendell psycho-suspense (Judgement in Stone, Make Death Love Me), this is a strong improvement over Master of the Moor - with genuine, haunting creepiness and achingly pathetic irony in the central portrait: an obsessed brother and sister, one surfacing to sanity while the other sinks ever deeper into madness. (Kirkus Reviews)
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Author Biography - Ruth Rendell
Ruth Rendell is the Queen of British crime writing. The author of over 50 novels, she has won many significant crime fiction awards. Her first novel, From Doon With Death, appeared in 1964, and since then her reputation and readership have grown steadily with each new book. She has received major awards for her work; three Edgars from the Mystery Writers of America; the Crime Writers' Gold Dagger Award for 1976's best crime novel, A Demon in My View; the Arts Council National Book Award for Genre Fiction in 1981 for The Lake of Darkness; the Crime Writer's Gold Dagger Award for 1986's best crime book for Live Flesh; in 1987 the Crime Writer's Gold Dagger Award for A Fatal Inversion and in 1991 the same award for King Solomon's Carpet, both written under the pseudonym Barbara Vine; the Sunday Times Literary Award in 1990; and in 1991 the Crime Writer's Cartier Diamond Award for outstanding contribution to the crime fiction genre. Her books are translated into 21 languages. In 1996 she was awarded the CBE and in 1997 became a Life Peer.
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