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The Water's Lovely

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Weeks went by when Ismay never thought of it at all. Then something would bring it back or it would return in a dream. The dream began in the same way. She and her mother would be climbing the stairs, following Heather's lead through the bedroom to what was on the other side, not a bathroom in the dream but a chamber floored and walled in marble. In the middle of it was a glassy lake. The white thing in the water floated towards her, its face submerged, and her mother said, absurdly, "Don't look!"' The dead man was Ismay's stepfather, Guy. Now, nine years on, she and her sister, Heather, still lived in the same house in Clapham. But it had been divided into two self-contained flats. Their mother lived upstairs with her sister, Pamela. And the bathroom, where Guy had drowned, had disappeared. Ismay worked in public relations, and Heather in catering. They got on well. They always had. They never discussed the changes to the house, still less what had happened that August day... But even lives as private as these, where secrets hang in the air like dust, intertwine with other worlds and other individuals. And, with painful inevitability, the truth will emerge.
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Can you bury a secret so deep that it will never resurface? A psychological story of relationships built on murderous lies and hidden secrets, from the world's best living mystery writer and author of crime thrillers including Thirteen Steps Down.

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


Ismay and Heather live with and care for their mother, who has been mentally unbalanced since finding her children's stepfather drowned in the bathtub. Ismay has always believed that her sister killed him, thinking that Heather was protecting her from his unwanted attentions. Keeping the dark secret seems to have tainted every area of their lives, as Ismay is emotionally unable to confront Heather and find out the truth about their stepfather's death. Indeed, the incident has lent its dark influence to every one of the main characters' relationships and life decisions. Three-time Edgar Award winner Rendell (End in Tears) has written another engaging psychological suspense story in the style of her popular 2002 novel, Adam and Eve and Pinch Me. The characters resolve their problems in some rather improbable ways, making the ending less satisfying than in many of Rendell's previous works, but still, a highly entertaining read. Recommended. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 3/15/07.]-Linda Oliver, MLIS, Colorado Springs Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

Three-time Edgar Award-winner Rendell (13 Steps Down) often creates fragile characters, trembling on the edge of losing a lover, child, job, solvency or sanity. Slashing through their world is a "wild card," an obsessive or a sociopath too focused on personal gain to be concerned with damage to others. The vulnerable people at the heart of this taut and enticing stand-alone are the Sealand family, particularly Heather, who's assumed to have drowned her unsavory stepfather, Guy, in the bath while he was weak with illness. A veritable pack of wild cards-including Marion Melville, who cozies up to the lonely and aged in hopes of inheriting their estates after she's poisoned them, and Marion's Dumpster-diving brother, Fowler-keeps everyone off guard. Rendell enlivens the tale with subplots involving various romances-ardent and desperate-and a killer who lurks in London's parks, as well as with pithy comments about class, technology, generational conflict, food and aesthetics. The plot twists in this electrifying read reach all the way to the last page. (July) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

"Ruth Rendell is excellent at catatonia. She revels in the menacing potential of stillness, the sinister heft of the inanimate object. In this cool yet engrossing novel, life's miscellanea . . . threaten to unmask awful secrets. The suspense is genteel, but palpable . . . Rendell is in full control of her craft here. She places motives, possibilities, or question marks with forensic precision throughout the story . . . Impressively, she draws characters with great economy, unpicks and sustains them through a well-timed and smoothly executed story." * Sunday Times * "The quality of the writing is as high as ever, and so too is Rendell's control of the narrative, which sweeps along in short, tart sections." * Spectator * "Rendell coaxes her horrors along so seductively that all kinds of nastiness seem not only possible, but inevitable" * Literary Review * "Once again, she has broken with the traditions of crime fiction, that it should engage the mind rather than the emotions" * Sunday Times * "Ruth Rendell is back to her creepy best. She has always been wonderful at exploring the dark corners of the human mind, and the way private fantasies can clash and explode into terrifying violence" * Daily Mail *

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