'I think you know who killed your stepfather', said Wexford, and so begins this scintillating collection of long and short stories by the world's best living crime writer, Ruth Rendell.
It was clear both to Wexford and Burden that Tom Peterlee was not killed for GBP360, but various people would have liked them to believe the lie. It is a case which reminds the Chief Inspector that there is only a thin line dividing the policeman from the criminal. The criminal impulse may be present in the most routine or intimate situation.
The book ends with The Strawberry Tree, a disturbingly evocative novella-length tale of lost innocence, set on the island of Majorca. It is a triumphant conclusion to a collection of horror stories that linger in the mind.
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, is scheduled for publication in October 2015