Nine stories and two novellas make up Ruth Rendell's latest collection.
Ruth Rendell's seventh collection of short stories also includes two unpublished novellas.
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, is lonely and obsessive. He still keeps her 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 folded 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.
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.
“Rendell is a great storyteller who knows how to make sure that the reader has to turn the pages out of a desperate need to find out what is going to happen next”
John Mortimer, Sunday Times
“Plenty of style and many a wry reflection on the human condition ... Rendell's mission in these well-crafted short stories is ... to exhibit a cool skill in the telling of moral fables. This is serious entertainment”
Frances Fyfield, Express
“In her writing, horror does not shake its gory locks directly at us, but hovers on the periphery of our inner vision, hidden among the ordinary, the everyday”
Jane Shilling, Sunday Telegraph
“Rendell's mastery of the difficult short story genre is unsurpassed ... Her mesmerising capacity to shock, chill and disturb is unmatched”