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The Copper Peacock


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A collection of nine short crime and horror stories from the bestselling mystery writer Ruth Rendell, including an appearance by one of the crime genre's most popular characters: Detective Chief Inspector Reg Wexford. A chilling insight into the seemingly ordinary human mind and its potential for psychopathic violence.

About the Author

Ruth Rendell was an exceptional crime writer, and will be remembered as a legend in her own lifetime. Her groundbreaking debut novel, From Doon With Death, was first published in 1964 and introduced the reader to her enduring and popular detective, Inspector Reginald Wexford, who went on to feature in twenty-four of her subsequent novels. With worldwide sales of approximately 20 million copies, Rendell was a regular Sunday Times bestseller. Her sixty bestselling novels include police procedurals, some of which have been successfully adapted for TV, stand-alone psychological mysteries, and a third strand of crime novels under the pseudonym Barbara Vine. Very much abreast of her times, the Wexford books in particular often engaged with social or political issues close to her heart. 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. Her final novel, Dark Corners, is scheduled for publication in October 2015


Rendell's fiction examines not the psychology of criminals but the complicated motivations of ordinary people that occasionally lead to crime. In "Fish-Sitter," a failed writer finds his true self by feeding his nemesis to a shark. In the title story, a successful writer feels guilt when his lack of curiosity about his cleaning woman's bruises leads to tragedy. While most of the nine stories in this 1991 collection are slight, two stand out. The nanny of "Mother's Help" does not recognize that the father with whom she is having an affair is a monster. In "An Unwanted Woman," inspector Wexford finds a clue to the murder of a lonely widow in a minor novel by Anthony Trollope. Penelope Keith's somewhat haughty narration is fitting, providing the necessary distance from which Rendell's ironies are best viewed. Recommended for public libraries, primarily for Keith's skilled reading. Michael Adams, CUNY Graduate Ctr. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

YA-- A collection of nine short stories in Rendell's best ``Hitchcockian'' tradition. The vignettes all focus on ordinary people involved in not-so-unusual situations that have macabre consequences. Good for recreational reading and as a model for writing short stories. --Roberta Lisker, W. T. Woodson High School, Fairfax, VA

Nine tales from the Edgar-winning British doyenne of suspense, most of which delight with their fine-tuned psychological effects. BOMC alternate in cloth. (Sept.)

Rendell's psychological insights are so absorbing, it's easy to forget what a superb plotter she is * The Times *
The most brilliant mystery novelist of our time * Patricia Cornwell *
One of the greatest novelists presently at work in our language... A writer whose work should be read by anyone who either enjoys a brilliant mystery - or distinguished literature * Scott Turow *

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