Philip Wardman had more than just the ordinary squeamishness where death was concerned. Yet he could hardly avoid the suspicious disappearance of his sister's friend Rebecca Neave, especially when everyone was ascribing the cause to murder. Philip's feminine ideal is the statue of the Roman goddess Flora in his mother's garden. His marble Flora doesn't fade, doesn't alter, doesn't die. But then he meets Senta Pelham, a beautiful, sensual, childlike actress and a living incarnation of the statue. The two embark on a passionate affair that soon becomes dangerous when Senta sets Philip a test; to prove their love, they must each commit murder.
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(178mm x 110mm x 18mm)
Arrow Books Ltd
Country of Publication:
UK Kirkus Review »
Philip is a young man who lives with his widowed mother and two sisters in North London in 'reduced circumstances' since his father died. He's about to start his first job, and his girlfriend wants to marry and 'settle down'. but he starts to resist the life he can see mapped out. Like all Rendell novels, the story is set in a very recognisable world populated with everyday folk, but nothing is ever quite as it seems and the book takes on an increasingly claustrophobic and nightmarish quality as it goes along. Seemingly innocent and thoughtless gestures precipitate a relentless chain of events which the author depicts with painstaking, relentless inevitability. A young girl who was a contemporary of Philip's sister disappears, presumed dead, and this event brings on Philip's strange repulsion of violence, annexing him from his family. His ability to hide his thoughts makes him a very unreliable narrator, It's not an Inspector Wexford or a whodunnit as such, but it has an uneasy, claustrophobic atmosphere all of its own. (Kirkus UK)
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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.