The title of this blog should give you an idea of just how much Ruth Rendell has contributed to the world of fiction. I have read less than a dozen (but more than half a dozen) of her works, and have enjoyed each book immensely. As Barbara Vine, she writes incredibly detailed, three-dimensional fiction… I have to admit to a bias for mysteries, but I love Vine’s work outside of the mystery genre.
As Ruth Rendell, she writes two types of books… anyway, based on the more than half a dozen books that I have read by her, that’s what I think…
She has the wildly popular Inspector Wexford series (of which the 21st was published in 2008) and she also has her stand-alone novels. I am more familiar with the stand-alones, and still remember getting totally hooked on Rendell’s style after reading Live Flesh. YOW!!!!! Rendell’s stand-alone mysteries are psychological studies… I hate to say psychological thrillers because, on this COZY site, that might put off a lot of potential readers… But, I am going to go ahead and say it… they are just that… but PLEASE don’t let that put you, the Cozy reader off… Rendell is simply fantastic at her craft!!! She seems to know the minds of the psychotic people who inhabit her books. (Note that I didn’t say “characters”… She is so good that they become “people” rather than characters!)
If you don’t think that you’re up to a psychological thriller, then the Inspector Wexford novels are probably the way you should “try” Rendell (if you aren’t already a fan of Rendell’s work.) I have decided to start her Inspector Wexford novels at the very beginning, and read them all the way through… I have all 21 books beckoning to me, so here goes… I am delighted with my choice of Ruth Rendell, an author with whom I will be spending a considerable amount of time reading and enjoying… (And, this time, I am going to read the books in the correct chronological order!)