But gee, Barbara, can't you cut to the chase a bit faster? Jan 29, M. Johnson rated it it was amazing. Once I'd finished it, I took a quick peek at some of the reader reviews that have been posted for the book on Goodreads. They are fascinating and insightful, again driving it home to me that a reader's experience with a novel, though in some part down to mood and situation, is often a matter of whether or not the book assuming the work itself is basically sound!
This is a hauntingly dark, psychological crime novel, a story about the repercussions of a murder upon a family, and its secrets. It is extremely well plotted and the writing itself is unquestionably very skilful. At times I felt that Vine's habit of providing the reader with minute detail about a room's wallpaper, a hat that is worn, or the description of the cover of a book once spotted lying on a shelf, can get a little tedious - but this is probably just me!
The book is well worth reading and the family history and roll-call of names the reader has to become acquainted with is worth the effort. My first book of One of my favourite authors, as well as favourite genre.
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This is the first book written by Ruth Rendell as Barbara Vine, and towards the end, she gives an explanation about both her names, which is as interesting as the story she has written. In a My first book of In a Dark Adapted Eye, a woman murders, and is hung to death by law. It falls to her half niece to piece together the facts before and after the murder, to find out why she did what she did. Most of the book is from the view point of the niece, Faith, who comes across as a keen observer and an intuitive thinker.
Once I got the hang of the story, there was no looking back. Wonderful, tragic, amazingly ambiguous book that demands to be read more than once. I love the way she gradually creates sympathy for Vera, who in the beginning of the book seems absolutely unsalvageable It doesn't seem possible that this horrible woman could end as a figure of such Wonderful, tragic, amazingly ambiguous book that demands to be read more than once. It doesn't seem possible that this horrible woman could end as a figure of such pathos and tragedy.
Excellent casting, and very faithful to the twisty structure and moral complexity of the book. Mar 30, Kay rated it it was ok. I was very focused while reading this story but I still had a difficult time following all the different characters that appeared periodically throughout the book. I found myself going back through the text multiple times to figure out what the character's role was. This happened throughout the read. Maybe it is my failing. It is not a very suspenseful book; the story builds the end toward what is revealed in the beginning.
One of the things I like about this author is her intelligent writing.
I am constantly looking up and learning new words. This is not your year old's easy reading mystery. I also didn't find the story to be particularly compelling, and the ending felt like it dribbled toward a sigh of relief. Nevertheless, I greatly admire the writing and crafting of the novel.
It wasn't my cup of tea. Two sisters, devoted to each other over many years, one carrying for the other like a mother. How could the older ever have been convicted of killing the younger? This is the question that the novel attempts to answer. Well written, it is a story of a British family over a twenty year period from the s up to On the surface, a perfectly proper if snobby family situation. But peel the facade away to reveal a properly dysfunctional scene of obsession taken to the breaking point.
This boo Two sisters, devoted to each other over many years, one carrying for the other like a mother. This book was a bit of a chore to read, but worth finishing. However, I didn't appreciate the many unanswered questions raised at the end of the book. Call me old fashioned, but I prefer a story that wraps up its plot lines neatly in a bow.
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This book does not do that and ultimately left me profoundly disappointed. Well-written psychological novel about a murder and its effect on a family. View all 6 comments.
Not your typical mystery, for what is in doubt here is not whodunnit or what they have done - we are told from the outset that Vera is to be hanged for murder - but who the victim is and why the crime was committed. Using flashbacks something I usually dislike, but which Vine is an absolute master at Vera's neice tells us how the whole situation came about, using as a frame to the novel the fact that someone wants to write about her aunt's crime and trial. And so the reader is dragged into a tig Not your typical mystery, for what is in doubt here is not whodunnit or what they have done - we are told from the outset that Vera is to be hanged for murder - but who the victim is and why the crime was committed.
And so the reader is dragged into a tight-knit but ultimately disfunctional family with more than its fair share of skeletons in the closet. The narration jumps around in time, revealing hints here and clues there, but never telling us what we desperately want to know. The crime itself is not revealed until the very end; as was the case in the only other Vine novel I have read, The Chimney Sweeper's Boy.
Some of Vine's characters are so well portrayed that you almost felt the panic when the family starts to unravel as the secrets bubble closer to the surface and the cracks begin to appear. I can see why others have criticised the style as too wordy or slow - or even that this is not a mystery novel at all - but for me there was the perfect balance of suspense, characterisation and plot development. May 05, Melora rated it liked it Shelves: I can't say I liked this much — it is relentlessly sordid and unpleasant — but I think it is well done for what it is.
The author has succeeded in creating characters so unattractive and unsympathetic — our narrator, a young member of the family who gradually presents us with the story of her family's embarrassing history, constantly reminds us of what selfish, sneaky, pretentious people they are — that there is not much chance the reader will feel anything but the mildest curiosity about the wh I can't say I liked this much — it is relentlessly sordid and unpleasant — but I think it is well done for what it is.
The author has succeeded in creating characters so unattractive and unsympathetic — our narrator, a young member of the family who gradually presents us with the story of her family's embarrassing history, constantly reminds us of what selfish, sneaky, pretentious people they are — that there is not much chance the reader will feel anything but the mildest curiosity about the whys and wherefores of the murder.
Unfortunately, the slow revealing is very slow, drawn out too long, with a great deal of detail which adds little but which makes a fairly short book feel much longer than it is. The atmosphere of the story is narrow and ugly, which is appropriate for the characters and events, but I won't look for anything else by this author. This book would have been 5 stars except for a pesky issue I had with a device used to build suspense and keep from giving away future revelations.
Dave and barbara dating in the dark
There are lots of characters in this story, most related, which can make it confusing enough; but sprinkling their first names only into the action before explaining who they were had me flipping back and forth quite a bit. It got so bad that I wrote out a family tree to reference. However, once you have the characters in place in your head, the stor This book would have been 5 stars except for a pesky issue I had with a device used to build suspense and keep from giving away future revelations.
However, once you have the characters in place in your head, the story takes off. It was scandalous and engrossing and written craftily enough to supply some shocking revelations. It isn't often that you come across a murder mystery that can surprise and satisfy, but this one did. Some decades ago, not so long after the end of World War II, Faith's Aunt Vera was hanged for the murder of Faith's Aunt Eden, and now a true crime writer wants to write a book about the case, the trial and the execution.
As Faith decides whether or not to help him, and then how she might best do so, her memories of the events leading up to the murder, and of all the personalities involved, slowly resolve themselves until she -- and we -- gain a clearer picture of what went on, and the family se Some decades ago, not so long after the end of World War II, Faith's Aunt Vera was hanged for the murder of Faith's Aunt Eden, and now a true crime writer wants to write a book about the case, the trial and the execution.
As Faith decides whether or not to help him, and then how she might best do so, her memories of the events leading up to the murder, and of all the personalities involved, slowly resolve themselves until she -- and we -- gain a clearer picture of what went on, and the family secrets and pretensions that kept so much hidden. During the early parts of the novel Faith's memories are swirling, out of focus. They touch upon a large number of characters, some of whom will become important to the story, some of whom won't ever become more than names.
Because of this, and because of the inchoate form of this early narrative, it can be hard to fully keep track of things -- rather as if we were listening to an elderly relative who was preparing to tell a story but still putting her thoughts in order. By the time I got past this stage of the book I felt I'd come really to know Faith -- not just the middle-aged woman who was telling me her story but also the girl, and then young woman, who lived through those past events even though most of the participants treated her as if she were someone perpetually peripheral.
Faith soon lets us understand that this was pretty typical of her extended family, most of whom were too bound up in ill founded snobbery and egotism -- not to mention the artificial conventions of the age -- to function properly as human beings. It's really this that killed Eden and in due course the intensely unlikable Vera, for whom Faith nevertheless eventually manages to kindle in herself -- and hence in us -- some sympathy.
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The book's structured less like a novel, more like a very long novella. This has the effect of making it hard to put down. I don't mean that it's constantly spellbinding, although much of the time it is, but that the narrative forms a single flow: The result is that there's a distinct dearth of convenient places to pause.
This isn't the easiest of books to get along with, and I can imagine it has disappointed plenty of people who picked it up expecting a zesty thriller. Most of the characters are borderline insufferable, many of them less sufferable than that. Yet I thought it was very much worth the effort it demanded I put into it. I felt as if I'd started off by allowing myself to be tugged along by the eddying pull of a stream and then at some stage, without my being fully aware of it happening, being drawn into the powerful current of a deep river.
It's a novel to experience , in other words, to tease one's way into. I couldn't imagine a worse companion for the beach. Mar 21, Bibi Rose added it Shelves: This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I basically feel Ruth Rendell can do no wrong, and I particularly love all the Vine books. This one's my least favorite, though. It's just, the ending doesn't do it for me really.
I admire the way that-- in one rather important matter of fact-- the answer could could be A or B, and the book works, whichever one you choose. I suppose in a way it's lik I basically feel Ruth Rendell can do no wrong, and I particularly love all the Vine books. I suppose in a way it's like the real-life cases Rendell harks back to, Ruth Ellis and Edith Thompson and there may be others. The executed person is dead, the wheels of justice turned differently back then and there's a lot of stuff no one will ever know.
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So the uncertainty, in a way, is no more than you'll ever have in the case of a person who was hanged back in the bad old days, and Rendell's treatment of that is miles more satisfying than that of the Golden Age writers who always seem to reassure you that the culprit deserved to be hanged, damn it, and that the detective had possibly saved an innocent person from that fate. But still, something doesn't sit right with me about that one question.
Faith saw Vera nursing Jamie? Well but she may have been mistaken; there's a lot about unreliable memory in this book. But wait, someone else saw her too. It's scientifically possible that she nursed him without having given birth to him.