The Chimney Sweeper's Boy by Ruth Rendell

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

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The Chimney Sweeper's Boy by Ruth Rendell


Features

  • Hardcover: 344 pages ; Dimensions (in inches): 1.25 x 9.25 x 6.25
  • Publisher: Harmony Books; (June 1998)
  • ASIN: 060960287X


    Amazon.com
    Writing as Ruth Rendell, Barbara Vine has earned the Grand Master Award for lifetime achievement. In The Chimney Sweeper's Boy, Vine proves herself the equal of her alter ego and a master of the psychological thriller--as well as the police procedural--in this riveting novel. Why bestselling novelist Gerald Candless assumed a new identity years before his marriage and the birth of his two daughters isn't revealed until the penultimate chapter of the book, but the effect of his deception on his family drives Vine's deft character studies. In Gerald's wife, Ursula, and his daughters, Hope and Sarah, Vine has created three complex women in the thrall of an equally complicated and compelling man. As Sarah unravels the mystery of her father's deception, Gerald gradually becomes a more sympathetic figure. But Ursula, whose strange marital bargain with Gerald and whose distant relationship with her daughters tug at the heart, stays with the reader long after this distinguished, literary mystery is finished. --Jane Adams




    Reader Reviews
    3 of 3 people found the following review helpful: Sharper Than the Serpent's Tooth, April 8, 2003 Reviewer: sweetmolly from RICHMOND, VA USA This fine psychological study is long on characterization and suspense, but short in the thriller department. I think Barbara Vine (Ruth Rendell) has surpassed herself in the creation of Ursula, the ignored wife and mother. Gerald Candless, famous author, devoted and adored father, husband of Ursula dies of a heart attack at 71 in his home on the Devon coast. His two daughters, to whom he has dedicated his life, are devastated. Ursula feels nothing, but as both Gerald and her daughters have disregarded her since they were born, no one particularly notices. Elder daughter Sarah is commissioned to write a memoir of her celebrated father. During her preliminary research, she finds that Gerald Candless reinvented himself at age 25, that the real Gerald Candless died when he was six years old. This seems to be an impossibility given the extreme closeness among Gerald (who wasn't really Gerald) and his daughters. Sarah is ambivalent about going forward with her research. The daughters who are in their early 30's are just about as spoiled as you would expect them to be and shockingly indifferent to their mother. Ursula is almost paralyzed by her apathy toward Gerald and unable to reach out to her daughters after being thoroughly rebuffed for so many years. This is the mystery that is to be solved. Ms. Vine cleverly gives us more and more well-placed psychological clues that lead us toward Gerald's secret. Each chapter heading is supposedly a quote from one of Gerald's books and they are engagingly witty---"The meek may inherit the earth, but they won't keep it long." --- and serve as clues to the upcoming events. Great importance is placed upon "The Game" which Gerald and his daughters trot out to torment those not in their inner circle. It is so stupid; the entire trio should have been smacked. Ursula wisely has never taken part. (Not that she was asked!) The problem with "The Chimney Sweeper's Boy" is the setup is great, but the denouement doesn't live up to it. Some readers might feel they have invested a great deal of their time and energy for very little. I felt like getting there was half the fun and admired the way Ms. Vine breathes life into all these people. Even the enigmatic Gerald is more to be pitied than scorned. I would recommend reading Ms. Vine's "Dark Adapted Eye" first. If you find that enjoyable and are anxious for more, pick up "The Chimney Sweeper's Boy." Hint: The title is a clue. -sweetmolly-Amazon.com Reviewer

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