A Judgement in Stone by Ruth Rendell

Ruth Rendell is the award-winning author of the Chief Inspector Wexford mysteries.

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A Judgement in Stone by Ruth Rendell


  • Paperback: 208 pages ; Dimensions (in inches): 0.62 x 8.03 x 5.26
  • Publisher: Vintage Books; (January 2000)
  • ISBN: 0375704965

    Book Description
    What on earth could have provoked a modern day St. Valentine's Day massacre?

    On Valentine's Day, four members of the Coverdale family -- George, Jacqueline, Melinda and Giles -- were murdered in the space of 15 minutes. Their housekeeper, Eunice Parchman, shot them, one by one, in the blue light of a televised performance of Don Giovanni. When Detective Chief Superintendent William Vetch arrests Miss Parchman two weeks later, he discovers a second tragedy: the key to the Valentine's Day massacre...
    Mass Market Paperback edition.

    Reader Reviews
    6 of 6 people found the following review helpful: A BRILLIANT STUDY OF THE SOCIOPATHIC MIND..., June 29, 2003 Reviewer: Lawyeraau from Flushing, NY United States This is one of Ruth Rendell's earlier works and, perhaps, one of her best. More of a novella, rather than a full fledged novel, by virtue of its brevity, it is absolutely brilliant, well-written, and gripping from the get go. Ms. Rendell captures the reader with her first sentence, "Eunice Parchman killed the Coverdale family because she could not read or write." This is a descriptive and insightful literary stunner about how an illiterate, middle aged women gets to the point that she wipes out a family one fateful evening. The book takes the reader, step by step, through the events that lead up to this crossroad. It explores the mind of Eunice Parchman, a woman so limited in her world view and so robotic in her actions that she is almost repellent. The reader marvels at her very existence and is sure to find her fascinating character study. Ms. Parchman's interactions with the well educated Coverdale family, who employs her as a housekeeper, are intriguing and always interesting, as she struggles to keep her illiteracy a secret. How Ms. Parchman circumvents its discovery for as long as does, the lengths to which she goes to maintain a facade of literacy, and her socially inappropriate responses to every day situations, paint an intriguing psychological portrait for the reader. The eventual discovery of her illiteracy results in a ghastly outcome, which makes for some gripping and chilling reading. Ms. Rendell is masterful in her storytelling, infusing mundane situations with an understated horror that is all the more chilling because of the common denominator that strikes a chord with the reader. Written is well-nuanced, taut, spare style, this book is a literary gem that will keep the reader riveted to its pages. Bravo!

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