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.
For me Rendell is the master of writing a literary, psychologically- rich mystery.