The Girl Next Door: A Novel

By Ruth Rendell


From crime legend Ruth Rendell, a psychologically exciting novel approximately an outdated homicide that sends shockwaves throughout a gaggle of astonishingly carnal and appetiteful aged associates: “Refined, probing, and intelligent…never lower than a excitement” (USA TODAY).

In the waning months of the second one international battle, a bunch of kids find a tunnel of their local outdoors London. For that summer season of 1944, the subterranean area turns into their “secret garden,” the place the chums play video games, inform their fortunes, and practice for every other.

Six a long time later, development employees make a grisly discovery underneath a home at the related land: a tin field containing skeletal palms, one male and one lady. because the arms make nationwide information, the buddies come jointly once more, to keep in mind their some time past days for a detective. Then the police research sputters, and the threads keeping their friendship jointly start to get to the bottom of. Is the reality buried amid the tangled relationships of those getting older women and men and their thoughts? Will it emerge sooner than it’s too late?

Stephen King says, “no one surpasses Ruth Rendell in terms of tales of obsession, instability, and malignant coincidence.” In The lady subsequent Door—“yet one other gem” (The Washington Post)—Rendell brilliantly exhibits that the alternatives humans make, and the sentiments at the back of them, stay as effective in overdue existence as they have been in early life. “Rendell’s wit, continuously mordant, hasn't ever been sharper than whilst she skewers patronizing assumptions in regards to the aged” (Chicago Tribune).

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My granddaughter Fenella might say her test in your existence kind of cleansed her of these murderous emotions. ’ ‘Why Fenella? ’ ‘She’s a psychologist. ’ ‘And the letter has kind of cleansed me of shaking. It’s stopped. ’ Alan kissed her. ‘I’m so comfortable. We’ll nonetheless have Lewis over, we could? ’ Rosemary used to be again at her stitching computing device. She possessed a gown development she had by no means used simply because she thought of it too formidable for her. within the stitching room used to be a costume size, a number of metres of flowered silk, additionally by no means used. at the crest of a wave, as she placed it to herself, due to that letter and imagining its reception in Hamilton Terrace, she had pinned the trend directly to the silk, tacked it up and was once now machining an aspect seam. If she may perhaps end it in time, she might put on the hot costume whilst she paid her stopover at to Daphne and Alan or once they got here to her. Fantasising, she pictured herself within the costume while the police got here and arrested her, charging her in Daphne’s drawing room with wilful homicide – did they nonetheless say ‘wilful’, or was once that American? There will be a photo within the papers of her, defined as a ‘pretty aged girl, elegantly dressed’ and necessarily giving her age. Daphne Jones was once older, she notion, possibly by way of 3 years. Rosemary accomplished the seam, got rid of the tacking stitches and used to be approximately to begin at the subsequent one whilst the telephone rang. Daphne? Alan? It used to be neither of them. Her caller was once Robert Flynn. He stated how sorry he was once to listen to that she and Alan have been separated. It used to be very unhappy, she acknowledged, yet she was hoping it wouldn’t be everlasting. He stated his lengthy friendship with Alan, grown relatively far away in recent times. Rage, which were in abeyance on the grounds that her go back to the stitching laptop, without notice surged up in her. ‘Don’t you dare inform me you knew not anything approximately it,’ she shouted down the telephone. ‘You have been his alibi. for all time he used to be along with her, he informed me he was once assembly you. He advised you the whole lot and also you have been ready to lie for him. Lies, lies, lies, that’s what I needed to post with. and that i used to be his spouse for greater than fifty years. ’ Robert Flynn stammered that he used to be sorry, it used to be not anything to do with him, he knew not anything approximately it. Rosemary screamed, ‘Liar! ’ and crashed the telephone down. Her breath was once nonetheless coming in swift gasps while it rang back. Alan’s voice acknowledged, ‘Are you o.k.? You sound ailing. ’ ‘I’m now not ailing. Your buddy Robert Flynn phoned and – good, he made me move. I’m alright now. Did you get my letter? ’ ‘That’s what I’m calling approximately. ’ ‘I notion she may. ’ He made no respond to that. ‘You are looking to consult either one of us, you acknowledged. while do you want to return? ’ ‘Both folks’ had as soon as intended her and Alan. ‘Would Friday go well with? ’ He acknowledged it will. possibly within the morning. that might provide her time to make your mind up. to not kill Daphne, that used to be already selected, yet the way to do it and the way, too, to make the utmost express of it. Make a express in order that everybody passing and everybody within the gardens of Hamilton Terrace may possibly understand how she were wronged and what she had performed.

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