The Birthday Present, Paperback
3 out of 5 (2 ratings)


"The Birthday Present" by Barbara Vine - a gripping, psychological thriller packed with menace.

Intensely imagined, fearful and satisfying' "Sunday Times".

Tory MP Ivor Tesham has unconventional tastes. And in bored housewife Hebe Furnal he finds someone to share and enact his sexual fantasies.

However, one day it all goes terribly wrong. Ivor plans a special liaison for Hebe's birthday - a daring sexual adventure.

But dangerous games have unforeseen costs and consequences. And when there is an accidental death, scandal and ruin cannot be far behind...How long can a secret stay a secret?

How long will friends protect a reputation? And how long before guilt catches up with you? "The pre-eminent genius of the psychological thriller". ("Herald"). "Gripping, compelling". ("Mail on Sunday"). "Vintage Vine". ("Literary Review"). If you like P.D. James, Ian Rankin and Scott Turow, you will love "The Bithday Present" by Barbara Vine.

Barbara Vine is the pen-name of Ruth Rendell. She has written fifteen novels using this pseudonym, including "A Fatal Inversion" and "King Solomon's Carpet" which both won the Crime Writers' Association Gold Dagger Award. Her other books include: "A Dark Adapted Eye"; "The House of Stairs"; "Gallowglass"; "Asta's Book"; "No Night Is Too Long"; "In the Time of His Prosperity"; "The Brimstone Wedding"; "The Chimney Sweeper's Boy"; "Grasshopper"; "The Blood Doctor"; "The Minotaur"; "The Birthday Present" and "The Child's Child".


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Thriller / suspense
  • ISBN: 9780141036212



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Showing 1 - 2 of 2 reviews.

Review by

Not my favourite Barbara Vine book, this seemed to lack something compared to some of her other books. The book tells the story of an MP whose married mistress is killed in the course of staged abduction arranged for her as a birthday present. Although initially the story is not connected with him, it was quite obvious from the start that the story was going to come out at some stage, and the only real mystery was how. I also found the character of Jane a bit too overly pathologically sad, lonely and bitter. Overall, I was disappointed by this as I am usually a fan of Barbara Vine.

Review by

Although I was gripped by this while I was reading it, and I have often thought of bits of it again, I wasn't *quite* as gripped as I have been by her other novels. But it must surely be time for another one soon!

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