Writing under the pseudonym Barbara Vine, Ruth Rendell departs from her famous detective team of Wexford and Burden to tell a gripping tale of family madness. Vera Hillyard is a domineering and possessive woman who strives for obsessive control over a malicious older son, a youngest son who is--or isn't--illegitimate, and a daughter who is a devoted sister to her younger brother. The daughter secretly seeks to escape Vera's grasp and instead provokes a murder. This winner of the 1986 Mass Market Paperback edition.
A Dark Adaptive Eye, October 10, 2002 Reviewer: demelzapoldark from Bend, OR USA My first time viewing a video with a story by Ruth Rendell. I am not going to go into detail about the literary aspects of the story, but more about my opinion of the characters. I see on the website that Vera is discussed as a very controlling, strange and domineering woman.She seems pretty tame to me. In my opinion, Vera is quilty of nothing more than having an eccentric personality, but so what! If anyone is quilty of madness, it is her sister Eden and her son Francis. It is apparent that these two bad seeds were out to push poor old Vera over the edge. Also, I believe throughout this entire story, that Vera is,in a way, the victim of circumstance. It is apparent to me that the March baby she is accused of killing was not killed by her, but by Mr. March. The only murder Vera is guilty of is her sisters, and I couldn't blame her for killing her. Eden drove Vera to madness. So vera didn't have lots of money and she was a bit eccentric. She gave the baby what he needed most...love and affection, which is something Eden wasn't capable of doing!! Personally, I do not feel Vera should have been hanged. The murder had not been premeditated. It was a crime of passion and temporary insanity brought on by none other than the emotionally impotent Eden. And another thing, what about that niece of Vera's. Faith knew what Eden was out to do. Both Faith and her husband knew what Eden was doing was wrong, they should have done something about it. Some how I feel this murder and hanging could have been avoided, if Faith had gotten envolved. And where was Vera's brother John in all of this? Why didn't he get envolved!!? Ultimately though, Vera should not have been hanged, given the circumstances. If there was an injustice, it was against poor Vera. Sorry for typos, can't figure out how to use my spelling checker here. --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition