Share Remembering Ruth Rendell: Britain’s Essential Crime Writer

Remembering Ruth Rendell: Britain’s Essential Crime Writer

Caitlin Kleinschmidt is part of the sales team at Workman Publishing. She has previously held positions at Viking/Riverhead, Simon & Schuster, Oxford University Press, and Macmillan. A Navy brat, she lived on both coasts and credits the Dear America series for her lifelong love of history. She has a special place in her heart for narrative nonfiction, as well as books about Eastern Europe and ballet.

Dazzling suspense. Razor-sharp dialogue. Plots that catch and hold like a noose. These are the hallmarks of books by crime legend Ruth Rendell, who passed away on May 2, 2015 at the age of eighty-five. A Baroness and member of the House of Lords, Rendell was the author of more than sixty murder mysteries—the last of which, Dark Corners, will be published by Scribner this December. She was known for writing psychological suspense at its very finest—chilling, richly characterized, and ingeniously constructed. Celebrate Ruth Rendell’s life by reading nine of her essential works.


From Doon with Death
by Ruth Rendell

Rendell’s classic debut novel introduced readers to one of the most popular sleuths of the twentieth century. When a timid housewife from a quiet English village is found brutally strangled, Inspector Wexford, the formidable chief of police, is baffled—until he discovers her dark secret: a trove of rare books, each volume breathlessly inscribed by a passionate lover identified only as Doon.

From Doon with Death
Ruth Rendell

Rendell’s classic debut novel introduced readers to one of the most popular sleuths of the twentieth century. When a timid housewife from a quiet English village is found brutally strangled, Inspector Wexford, the formidable chief of police, is baffled—until he discovers her dark secret: a trove of rare books, each volume breathlessly inscribed by a passionate lover identified only as Doon.

MENTIONED IN:

Remembering Ruth Rendell: Britain’s Essential Crime Writer

By Caitlin Kleinschmidt | June 11, 2015

Close

A Dark-Adapted Eye
by Ruth Rendell

The first novel written under Rendell’s nom de plume, Barbara Vine. When Faith Severn’s aunt was hanged for murder, the reason behind her dark deed died with her. For thirty years, the family hid the truth—until a journalist prompts Faith to look back to the day when her aunt entered a child’s nursery with a knife.

A Dark-Adapted Eye
Ruth Rendell

The first novel written under Rendell’s nom de plume, Barbara Vine. When Faith Severn’s aunt was hanged for murder, the reason behind her dark deed died with her. For thirty years, the family hid the truth—until a journalist prompts Faith to look back to the day when her aunt entered a child’s nursery with a knife.

MENTIONED IN:

15 Edgar-Winning Mystery and True Crime Books

By Sarah Jane Abbott | April 27, 2017

5 Kate Morton-Approved Novels That Explore Past and Present

By Kate Morton | August 1, 2016

Remembering Ruth Rendell: Britain’s Essential Crime Writer

By Caitlin Kleinschmidt | June 11, 2015

Close

Portobello
by Ruth Rendell

When Eugene Wren discovers an envelope bulging with cash, he posts notices all around Notting Hill in order to find the rightful owner. This ill-conceived act invites a slew of volatile characters into his life and creates a chain of events with consequences that will change them all. It is a wonderfully complex depiction of one of London’s most intriguing neighborhoods—and the dangers beneath its posh veneer.

Portobello
Ruth Rendell

When Eugene Wren discovers an envelope bulging with cash, he posts notices all around Notting Hill in order to find the rightful owner. This ill-conceived act invites a slew of volatile characters into his life and creates a chain of events with consequences that will change them all. It is a wonderfully complex depiction of one of London’s most intriguing neighborhoods—and the dangers beneath its posh veneer.

MENTIONED IN:

Coincidence and Corruption in London’s Portobello Market

By Joanna Cannon | July 18, 2016

Remembering Ruth Rendell: Britain’s Essential Crime Writer

By Caitlin Kleinschmidt | June 11, 2015

Close

The Monster in the Box
by Ruth Rendell

The twenty-second installment of the classic and beguiling Inspector Wexford series, this enthralling tale takes Wexford back to his days as a young policeman—and reunites him with the man he has long suspected of being a serial killer.

The Monster in the Box
Ruth Rendell

The twenty-second installment of the classic and beguiling Inspector Wexford series, this enthralling tale takes Wexford back to his days as a young policeman—and reunites him with the man he has long suspected of being a serial killer.

MENTIONED IN:

Remembering Ruth Rendell: Britain’s Essential Crime Writer

By Caitlin Kleinschmidt | June 11, 2015

Close

Tigerlily's Orchids
by Ruth Rendell

Is it dangerous to know too much about your neighbors? When Stuart Font throws a housewarming party, he invites all of his neighbors, as well as the beautiful, reclusive young Asian woman living across the street, known as Tigerlily. This is a darkly humorous and psychologically thrilling tale about the eccentric inhabitants of a London terrace—about the secrets they keep, and what they will do to hide them.

Tigerlily's Orchids
Ruth Rendell

Is it dangerous to know too much about your neighbors? When Stuart Font throws a housewarming party, he invites all of his neighbors, as well as the beautiful, reclusive young Asian woman living across the street, known as Tigerlily. This is a darkly humorous and psychologically thrilling tale about the eccentric inhabitants of a London terrace—about the secrets they keep, and what they will do to hide them.

MENTIONED IN:

Remembering Ruth Rendell: Britain’s Essential Crime Writer

By Caitlin Kleinschmidt | June 11, 2015

Close

The Vault
by Ruth Rendell

When four bodies are discovered in an underground chamber beneath a picturesque London home, the police call on former Chief Inspector Wexford, now retired, to advise them on the case. Wexford, missing the thrill of the hunt, jumps at the chance to sleuth again, but just as the case is getting hot, a devastating family tragedy transforms him from investigator to victim.

The Vault
Ruth Rendell

When four bodies are discovered in an underground chamber beneath a picturesque London home, the police call on former Chief Inspector Wexford, now retired, to advise them on the case. Wexford, missing the thrill of the hunt, jumps at the chance to sleuth again, but just as the case is getting hot, a devastating family tragedy transforms him from investigator to victim.

MENTIONED IN:

Remembering Ruth Rendell: Britain’s Essential Crime Writer

By Caitlin Kleinschmidt | June 11, 2015

Close

The St. Zita Society
by Ruth Rendell

Life for the residents of Hexam Place appears orderly, but the social hierarchy is set to combust. The handsome valet is sleeping with both the lord’s wife and his university-age daughter, the lady of the house is hiding her illicit affair with a television actor, and the disturbed gardener is hearing godlike instructions—commands that could imperil the lives of all those in Hexam Place.

The St. Zita Society
Ruth Rendell

Life for the residents of Hexam Place appears orderly, but the social hierarchy is set to combust. The handsome valet is sleeping with both the lord’s wife and his university-age daughter, the lady of the house is hiding her illicit affair with a television actor, and the disturbed gardener is hearing godlike instructions—commands that could imperil the lives of all those in Hexam Place.

MENTIONED IN:

Remembering Ruth Rendell: Britain’s Essential Crime Writer

By Caitlin Kleinschmidt | June 11, 2015

Close

No Man’s Nightingale
by Ruth Rendell

Searching the home of a strangled female vicar, Inspector Wexford finds a letter on her bedside table and pockets it. Wexford soon realizes he has made a grave error in removing a piece of valuable evidence from the scene, yet what he finds begins to illuminate the victim’s murky past. Is there more to her than meets the eye?

No Man’s Nightingale
Ruth Rendell

Searching the home of a strangled female vicar, Inspector Wexford finds a letter on her bedside table and pockets it. Wexford soon realizes he has made a grave error in removing a piece of valuable evidence from the scene, yet what he finds begins to illuminate the victim’s murky past. Is there more to her than meets the eye?

MENTIONED IN:

Remembering Ruth Rendell: Britain’s Essential Crime Writer

By Caitlin Kleinschmidt | June 11, 2015

Close

The Girl Next Door
by Ruth Rendell

In the waning months of the Second World War, a group of children discover an earthen tunnel that becomes their “secret garden.” Six decades later, on the same land, construction workers uncover a tin box containing two skeletal hands. Is the truth behind this psychologically explosive story buried among these long-time friends and their memories?

The Girl Next Door
Ruth Rendell

In the waning months of the Second World War, a group of children discover an earthen tunnel that becomes their “secret garden.” Six decades later, on the same land, construction workers uncover a tin box containing two skeletal hands. Is the truth behind this psychologically explosive story buried among these long-time friends and their memories?

MENTIONED IN:

12 Contemporary British Novels We Can’t Live Without

By Caitlin Kleinschmidt | April 26, 2016

Remembering Ruth Rendell: Britain’s Essential Crime Writer

By Caitlin Kleinschmidt | June 11, 2015

Close

Thank you for joining our email list!

If you create and Off the Shelf account, you'll be able to save books to your personal bookshelf, and be eligible for free books and other good stuff.

Click here to create your free account.

You must be logged in to add books to your shelf.

Please log in or sign up now.