Rediscovering Ruth Rendell

This is how Ruth Rendell’s novel, Shake Hands Forever, begins: “The woman standing under the departures board at Victoria Station had a flat rectangular body and an iron-hard rectangular face.” Clearly not a warm woman. In fact,, I assumed she would be the murder victim. But no. The victim is her young and mysterious daughter-in-law. They’ve not met in three years. (The mother-in-law preferred the first wife.) So much drama!

Ruth Rendall

I loved being pulled into the drama right away. Why is this mother-in-law so mean? What is the issue with the son who, bland as he is, left his wife for this strange woman? Why are they so isolated? Why would anyone want to kill her? What happened? And then along comes Inspector Wexford to figure it out. I liked the way he was a regular guy, devoted to his wife Dora. I liked watching him puzzle it through.

Rediscovering Ruth Rendell was a real treat. It made me think about why I love old mysteries. It was like coming across an old friend. Have you rediscovered anyone lately?

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