Thursday, May 03, 2018

First Wednesday (on Thursday) Book Club: THE CHIMNEY SWEEPER's BOY, Ruth Rendell


Barbara Vine in this case.

Gerald Candless is a famous British writer who dies suddenly much to the sorrow of his daughters and puzzlement of his wife. Their marriage has always been odd to say the least. She has functioned more as a typist and sometimes muse than a wife. However the girls adore him and the oldest decides to write a biography about him.

This proves to be a difficult task as there are many blind alleys in his life. Is he even Gerald Candless?

And the reader is left with mysteries of her own at the book's end. Why did a man so mistreated by society mistreat his wife. Why did he undermine his daughter's relationship with their mother. Yes, we feel sorry for Gerald, but we also loathe many things about him.

This is a complex, complicated book, which I could not put down. Rendell does a wonderful job of showing what life was like in various time periods. Not one character is a cliche. Truly a terrific book. And she integrates his writing wonderfully into both his life and that of his wife's.

More reviews on Thursday at Barrie Summy's place. 

15 comments:

Rick Robinson said...

I have read some Rendell, but none of her Vine titles.

Barrie said...

Like the commenter above, I have read (and enjoyed) some of this author's other books, but none of the Barbara Vine mysteries. This book sounds fascinating. I'll have to read it. Thanks for reviewing!

Jeffrey Meyerson said...

Generally, I preferred her Wexford books to the non-series works, but that was 30 years ago. I haven't read anything of hers in a long time, other than her short story collections, perhaps half a dozen in all. As mentioned elsewhere, I did read and like her ANNA'S BOOK (ASTA'S BOOK in Britain), with its diary format and historical elements. I do want to go back and read some more of the Vine books. I've seen a couple of the television adaptations.

Margot Kinberg said...

Oh, I'm glad you liked this one as well as you did, Patti. Rendell was really so talented, and did such an effective job building psychological suspense.

pattinase (abbott) said...

My favorite Vine book is A DARK=ADAPTED EYE.

George said...

I've read over a dozen Ruth Rendell mysteries and about the same number of "Barbara Vine" suspense novels. I found the Vine books darker than the Rendells.

Charles Gramlich said...

I've read a Ruth Rendell or two I believe but not this one

Sarah Laurence said...

Aren't abusers frequently former victims of abuse? It's a sad truth how unhappy men often take their frustrations out on the women in their family, whether it's physical or psychological. Good review!

Linda McLaughlin said...

Glad you liked the book so much Patti. I don't think I've ever read a Vine book either.

Powell River Books said...

You have to admire an author who can write so many meaningful works. - Margy

pattinase (abbott) said...

He is not an abuser except in terms of marrying for the wrong reasons and ignoring his wife mostly. But now that I think about it, it is abuse. She is deprived of a normal life.

Lucy said...

Not being able to put the book down is a good recommendation for the book. Thanks for reviewing.

Phyllis Wheeler said...

Sounds like he's not likable. I might have trouble reading this book.

troutbirder said...

Hmmm. Getting to figure out who the person really is often makes for real mysteries...

Jenn Jilks said...

It sounds interesting. I'll put it on my list!
Thanks for reviewing it! I hadn't read the Vine books.