Anyway, this was our first meeting of the year and we had most of our regular crew in attendance. We were missing at least 4 of our regulars - and they were missed for sure. Our task for this month - read any book written by Ruth Rendell or her other persona, Barbara Vine. This prolific author died in May of 2015 and since we had not ever read any of her books as a group, I thought she would be a perfect choice for an 'Author Month'.
Stephen King said, 'No one surpasses Ruth Rendell when it comes to stories of obsession, instability, and malignant coincidence...'
Barbara Vine was a pseudonym that she used beginning with A Dark Adapted Eye in 1986. Many felt that her Vine books were darker and that she spent more time inside the heads of the criminals. It seemed that fans of the Wexford series often did not like the Vine books and vice versa. There were many, many bestsellers regardless of the name Rendell used, however.
I was pleased to see that a wide variety of books were sampled by the group members. We had very few overlaps. Here's what the group read and some of their reactions:
The Tree of Hands - Charlotte - unlikeable characters
The Girl Next Door - Carol - hated the ending
Dark Corners - Gary - questioned response to blackmailer
From Doon With Death - Gayle and Casey - both found ending a little confusing - a Wexford book
A Dark Adapted Eye - Gayle - almost quit reading
No Man's Nightingale - Karen - found story interesting - female vicar strangled - Wexford book
The St. Zita Society - Mahassen - first 70 pages very dull - then it got interesting - liked the London setting and culture
The Babes in the Woods - Liz - teenagers missing while parents on vacation - Wexford book
Portobello - Nora - loved the setting of Portobello Road
Asta's Book - Kay - story of a family and a diary, written by Asta, published in part by Asta's daughter, Swanny, and continued by Asta's granddaughter, Ann. There's a missing child, a murder, and decades of a life. Not a fast paced story, but one that I really enjoyed.
The overall consensus was that most were not big fans of Ruth Rendell's writing. Some found it too dark. Some found it too slow. A couple were pleased.
Two of our missing members had sent me their reactions. One did not like the book she read at all. The other read one Vine book - hated it - and then returned to the Wexford series, which she had enjoyed in the past. I'm probably the only one that feels a definite urge to continue sampling Ruth Rendell's books. And I shall.
There have been many TV and movie adaptations of this author's works. I'm not sure I've seen any, but want to seek some of them out. Have you read any books by Ruth Rendell/Barbara Vine? What did you think?