The long title story is about a man whose life, in a sense, is a book.
There are shelves in every room, packed with titles which Ambrose Ribbon has checked pedantically for mistakes of grammar and fact.
Life for Ribbon, without his mother now, is lonely and obsessive, filled with psychoses and neuroses, with the ever-present possibility of a descent into violent madness.
He still keeps his mother's dressing table exactly as she had left it, the wardrobe door always open so that her clothes can be seen inside, and her pink silk nightdress on the bed.
There is one book too that he associates particularly with her - volume VIII of the Encyclopaedia Britannica, Piranha to Scurfy.
It marked a very significant moment in their relationship.
In the other stories, Ruth Rendell deals with a variety of themes, some macabre, some vengeful, some mysterious, all precisely observed.
The second novella, High Mysterious Union, explores a strange, erotic universe in a dream-like corner of rural England, and illustrates very atmospherically what range Ruth Rendell has as a writer, expanding beyond her famous sphere of crime writing.
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 320 pages
- Publisher: Cornerstone
- Publication Date: 31/03/2001
- Category: Crime & mystery
- ISBN: 9780099414995
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Showing 1 - 2 of 2 reviews.
Review by nearasyouget
Up until now I haven't been a great fan of Ruth Rendell's short stories, but this collection contains several which are as good as her novels.
Review by edwinbcn
While I am not so much into the thriller / murder mystery genre, but having heard so much positive about the author Ruth Rendell, not least here at LT, trying a collection of short stories seemed a good way to read something by this writer.I was pretty disappointed. The opening story rambles on without end, and the development is slow, not very convincing, and not interesting. The collection included a few other stories, some apparently too long, and some so short that I was hard to figure out what to make of it. Exit Ms Rendell.