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About the book
  • Published: 1 May 2010
  • ISBN: 9781409035305
  • Imprint: Cornerstone Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 384


Psychologically acute and extremely disturbing, Ruth Rendell's work is outstanding.' The Times

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 obsessions, problems, dreams and despairs. And through it all the hectic life of Portobello bustles on…

  • Pub date: 1 May 2010
  • ISBN: 9781409035305
  • Imprint: Cornerstone Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 384

About the Author

Ruth Rendell

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, was published in October 2015.

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Praise for Portobello

“With this captivating novel, the reigning queen of crime fiction establishes that an unsolved murder is not a necessary ingredient of a suspense-filled mystery ... Her deft sculpturing of characters' idiosyncratic obsessions and foibles betrays a shrewdness of perception of which even the absent Wexford would be proud.”

Time Out

“A roundabout of characters is set whirling along in an irresistibly readable, tragi-comic carnival. Dr Johnson's dictum could be amended here: the reader who is tired of Ruth Rendell's novel of London is tired of life”


“Impossible to put down ... Rendell, at her most sardonic here, may view all her characters as creatures who live under stones but it is her sense of place that counts. She makes you smell the excitement and desperation. Portobello is as brilliant as anything she has ever written”

Evening Standard

“Ruth Rendell is marvellous at psychological tension ... Rendell is too clever and too accomplished to serve up the expected. She supplies a satisfying, rather low-key ending in which she knits all the threads together with a casual flourish that shows veteran expertise”

Sunday Times

“A thriller steeped in psychological intrigue ... Rendell's prose style is as succinct and accessible as ever”

Daily Mirror

“Portobello is Ruth Rendell in a quiet mood with an absorbing story about strange inhabitants of Portobello Road market in London and it's Notting Hill environs... the various misfits, with their eccentricities, interact as only Rendell can manipulate. She portrays the Portobello area, a melting-pot home to the poor and the posh, with harsh, realistic affection bordering on the elegiac.”

The Times

“Portobello is a rich and quirky picture of one of the most idiosyncratic areas of London ... Rendell's evocation of Notting Hill and Portobello Road market is one of her most vivid realisations ... Admirers of Rendell will quickly realise that Portobello demonstrates a markedly different approach to her previous books. The eccentricities and grotesqueries of the characters here are drawn very large; too large, in fact, to be confined within the parameters of the standard crime novel. However, if Portobello breaks out of that particular category, it is none the worse for it”

Daily Express

“In the bustling souk of Portobello Road, three characters with very different lives are brought together by Fate, greed and curiosity ... each is brought to life with expert strokes, as is this chaotic, restless, deeply divided part of London. Their lives collide dangerously, almost fatally, in an intense, compelling tale, and the resolution is oddly unsettling.”


“Rendell's take on Notting Hill restores some of the rawness taken away by gentrification and the saccharine stammer of the film of the same name, tapping into its former reputation for slum landlords, racial tension and nasty cops”


“Ruth Rendell excels in the creation of dread by bringing together disturbed psyches with the contingent and coincidental”


“Next to the dross that pours from the publishing industry under the 'thriller' heading, a truly well-written, multi-dimensional book with pulse and form becomes a gem of the highest order. So it's always a treat when the master of her genre comes out with a new one.”

City AM

“A fiction whose effect on the reader is almost as addictive as the slimming sweets on which Eugene becomes so disturbingly dependent”

Sunday Telegraph

“Ruth Rendell's sense of place and disdain for her characters elevates a sordid case of arson into an artful exploration of sinister self-delusion”

Books of the Year, Evening Standard

“She has made the city her own, and writes with both knowledge and compassion about its streets and buildings, its transport and its shops - and above all about its inhabitants ... As ever Rendell writes with wry and witty authority ... It's intelligent stuff, and very readable.”


“Rendell is marvellous at psychological tension, and the suspicion that these ways will be sinister is what hooks the reader. Setting out her cast with conviction, she unrolls their lives at a stately, ominous pace”

The Sunday Times

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