Barbara Vine was the pen-name of Ruth Rendell, and Viking published all of her books under that name. Rendell was an exceptional crime writer, with worldwide sales of approximately 20 million copies, and regular Sunday Times bestsellers. Rendell won numerous awards, including the Crime Writers' Association Gold Dagger for 1976's best crime novel with A Demon in My View, a Gold Dagger award for Live Flesh in 1986, and the Sunday Times Literary Award in 1990. In 2013 she was awarded the Crime Writers' Association Cartier Diamond Dagger for sustained excellence in crime writing. In 1996 she was awarded the CBE and in 1997 became a Life Peer. Ruth Rendell died in May 2015.
Once again, Ruth Rendell writing as Vine (e.g., No Night Is Too Long, Harmony, 1995) weaves a compelling tale of ordinary people facing extraordinary pressures. Two women, divided by age and class, share their deepest secrets in an English nursing home in which one cares for the other. There is a sense of secrecy from the start, as Jenny Warner tells dying Stella Newland about her love affair and Stella shares with Jenny the location of her secret house. Secrecy gives way to foreboding, and tension builds as details are masterfully revealed. Vine is an extraordinary storyteller, able to enthrall a reader right from the start, as she does here. Additionally, she provides a satisfying symmetry in the construction of this book, with the two women's alternating voices and the inextricable linking of their lives, as Stella dies and Jenny is virtually reborn. This is a marvel‘may Vine write many more. Highly recommended.‘Michele Leber, Fairfax Cty. P.L., Va.