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Piranha to Scurfy

And Other Stories

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Paperback published by Vintage (Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group)

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About This Book
Nine deliciously frightening and exquisitely crafted tales of psychological terror from Ruth Rendell.

A self-appointed critic reads books only to catch out their errors of fact and usage, which he points out to their authors in vicious letters: Then one day he comes upon a book that attacks him. An elderly woman finally avenges herself on the man who raped her sixty years before. An idyllic village in the English countryside offers newcomers its own peculiar kind of hospitality and exacts a terrible price on those who reject it. Delivering high-voltage shocks with the elegance of a Henry James, Piranha to Scurfy is further evidence of Ruth Rendell’s mastery of any form she puts her hand to.


From the Trade Paperback edition.
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Nine deliciously frightening and exquisitely crafted tales of psychological terror from Ruth Rendell.

A self-appointed critic reads books only to catch out their errors of fact and usage, which he points out to their authors in vicious letters: Then one day he comes upon a book that attacks him. An elderly woman finally avenges herself on the man who raped her sixty years before. An idyllic village in the English countryside offers newcomers its own peculiar kind of hospitality and exacts a terrible price on those who reject it. Delivering high-voltage shocks with the elegance of a Henry James, Piranha to Scurfy is further evidence of Ruth Rendell’s mastery of any form she puts her hand to.


From the Trade Paperback edition.
Product Details
Paperback (224 pages)
Published: December 3, 2002
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Imprint: Vintage
ISBN: 9780375727597
Other books byRuth Rendell
  • No Man's Nightingale

    No Man's Nightingale
    An Inspector Wexford Novel
    From crime legend Ruth Rendell, the gripping new novel in her “beloved” (USA Today) Inspector Wexford series, which will soon mark its fiftieth anniversary A female vicar named Sarah Hussain is discovered strangled in her Kingsmarkham vicarage. Maxine, the gossipy cleaning woman who finds the body, happens to also be in the employ of former Chief Inspector Reginald Wexford and his wife. When called on by his old deputy, Wexford, who has taken to reading The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire as a retirement project, leaps at the chance to tag along with the investigators. Wexford is intrigued by the unusual circumstances of the murder, but he’s also desperate to escape the chatty Maxine. A single mother to a teenage girl, Hussain was a woman working in a male-dominated profession. Of mixed race and an outspoken church reformer, she had turned some in her congregation against her, including the conservative vicar’s warden. Could one of her enemies in the church have gone so far as to kill her? Or could it have been the elderly next-door gardener with a muddled alibi? As Wexford searches the vicar’s house alongside the police, he sees a book, Newman’s Apologia Pro Vita Sua, lying on Hussain’s bedside table. Inside it is a letter serving as a bookmark. Without thinking much, Wexford puts it into his pocket. Wexford soon realizes he has made a grave error—he’s removed a piece of evidence from the crime scene. Yet what he finds inside begins to illuminate the murky past of Sarah Hussain. Is there more to her than meets the eye? No Man’s Nightingale is Ruth Rendell’s masterful twenty-fourth installment in one of the great crime series of all time.

    The Girl Next Door

    The Girl Next Door
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    In this psychologically explosive story from “one of the most remarkable novelists of her generation” (People), the discovery of bones in a tin box sends shockwaves across a group of long-time friends. In the waning months of the second World War, a group of children discover an earthen tunnel in their neighborhood outside London. Throughout the summer of 1944—until one father forbids it—the subterranean space becomes their “secret garden,” where the friends play games and tell stories. Six decades later, beneath a house on the same land, construction workers uncover a tin box containing two skeletal hands, one male and one female. As the discovery makes national news, the friends come together once again, to recall their days in the tunnel for the detective investigating the case. Is the truth buried among these aging friends and their memories? This impromptu reunion causes long-simmering feelings to bubble to the surface. Alan, stuck in a passionless marriage, begins flirting with Daphne, a glamorous widow. Michael considers contacting his estranged father, who sent Michael to live with an aunt after his mother vanished in 1944. Lewis begins remembering details about his Uncle James, an army private who once accompanied the children into the tunnels, and who later disappeared. In The Girl Next Door Rendell brilliantly shatters the assumptions about age, showing that the choices people make—and the emotions behind them—remain as potent in late life as they were in youth.

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    When Ismay and Heather's stepfather was discovered dead in the bathtub nine years ago, the police concluded the drowning was an accident. But Ismay has always silently suspected that Heather might have had something to do with it. Now they're older and their lives seem to be moving happily forward. But when Heather becomes seriously involved with a man for the first time, Ismay's long-repressed memories can no longer be ignored. With painful inevitability, Ismay learns that she may not able to keep the dark truth hidden forever.

    The Crocodile Bird

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    A mother and a daughter live quietly in the rustic gatehouse of Shrove House, an isolated British estate. Their life seems perfectly ordinary except that daughter Liza has been kept isolated from the outside world for all of her sixteen years. And that he has seen her beautiful mother commit murder... more than once. Now, as the police come searching for a missing man, Liza's sheltered, strange world begins to fall apart. Piece by piece she will reveal her mother's tale of betrayal, desire, and obsession. Step-by-step we discover how much like mother, like daughter she is.

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