I almost didn’t do a review on this book. It isn’t that I hated the story, it just wasn’t that great. But I haven’t done a review for a while so here it is.
Jenny Warner is a 32-year-old married woman who works at a retirement home as a type of aid. She is very superstitious and makes the strangest connections with objects, people, and situations. Green is an unlucky color to wear. Put a fern in a man’s shoe and he will always love you. Don’t whistle outside in the dark; something bad will happen.
Her dire pronouncements are met with amusement by Stella, Jenny’s favorite resident. Although in the last stages of terminal cancer, Stella is a well dressed lady, correct and kindly. After receiving the deed to her secret tryst house, Stella holds back at first, then slowly unburdens her dreadful tale to Jenny. Jenny is having an affair so she is well aware of the burdens of keeping her husband in the dark.
Vine’s (Ruth Rendell) characters are always good. Whether good or bad they are believable. Except for the really bad ones I can almost always relate a character to someone I know. Now that my husband is reading her books, that can make for some interesting discussions. Dysfunctional families are her specialty. She describes in great detail the roles of each person and the lies they tell themselves along with surprising insights. She’s good.
This book just didn’t make the cut. It was slow-moving and repetitive. She attempted to make the reader believe the affair with Jenny and Ned was an actual falling in love event. Not happening. No one could possibly see it as anything but a sordid, sad, and oft told tale of the most garden variety in nature. The result was no surprise. The affair of Stella and her beau was a bit more interesting but still came to a very disappointing conclusion. I wanted Hitchcock and got National Enquirer.
A Better Vine book is The Minotaur and Rendell’s Thirteen Steps Down or The Rottweiler. If you need a disturbing and juicy sociopath, these will deliver. I just started reading Sight for Sore Eyes . This is more like it.