Portobello, Paperback Book
3 out of 5 (2 ratings)


The Portobello area of West London has a rich personality - vibrant, brilliant in colour, noisy, with graffiti that approach art, bizarre and splendid.

An indefinable edge to it adds a spice of danger. There is nothing safe about Portobello... Eugene Wren inherited an art gallery from his father near an arcade that now sells cashmere, handmade soaps and children's clothes.

But he decided to move to a more upmarket site in Kensington Church Street.

Eugene is fifty, with prematurely white hair. He is, perhaps, too secretive for his own good. He also has an addictive personality. But he has cut back radically on his alcohol consumption and has given up cigarettes.

Which is just as well, considering he is going out with a doctor.

For all his good intentions, though, there is something he doesn't want her to know about... Eugene's secret links the lives of a number of very different people - each with their own obsessions, problems, dreams and despairs. And through it all the hectic life of Portobello bustles on...


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Cornerstone
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Crime & mystery
  • ISBN: 9780099538639

Other Formats



Free Home Delivery

on all orders

Pick up orders

from local bookshops


Showing 1 - 2 of 2 reviews.

Review by

The scene is the Portobello Road in London, home to a sprawling market and to people from all walks of life, the wealthy middle class and those with no hope of a job. A middle-aged antiques dealer finds some cash dropped in the street, and rather than hand it to the police, advertises locally for the owner. Half a dozen lives cross and are entangled as a result, some knowing and some unknowing; setting them all on a path that will change some forever, and leave others dead.Rendall starts with stock stereotypes, and then draws their lives in intimate detail, showing them as rounded characters with a mix of good and bad in their personalities. This is a psychological thriller, but it's about ordinary people living ordinary lives; and how everyday pressures and events can lead into, and out of, tragedy. It has a mostly happy ending, and even the dead get some justice in the end, but these things depend on the small coincidences of ordinary life.There's a very strong sense of place in the book, excellent characterisation, and an engaging story. My own reaction to it was that I thoroughly enjoyed it and am glad I read it -- but I have no desire to read it again, and no urge to go out and buy more by the same author. I'm not quite sure why this is so, as the book certainly doesn't rely on the shock value of seeing the events unfold for the first time.

Review by

The idea for the story itself is good, as are the characters, in principle. It's just that, to me, this is children's writing for adults. I couldn't get over the simplistic style. There is no depth. I guess that's why I don't usually read books in this genre.

Also by Ruth Rendell   |  View all