2009: 105. Adam and Eve and Pinch Me

“Minty knew it was a ghost sitting in the chair because she was frightened.”

Adam and Eve and Pinch Me, Ruth Rendell

      A delightfully icy standalone from Rendell, concerning three women, all of whose lives are affected by one man (though they don’t realize it’s the same person - or even that they have anything in common, it is reasonably obvious from the back cover blurb that that is where this is going, so I don’t think I’m spoiling much).  Minty lives alone, mourning her boyfriend Jock, who died in a disastrous train wreck at Paddington, shortly after he borrowed all her savings.  She has been healing from the loss until she starts seeing his ghost.  Zillah also got a letter informing her that her estranged husband died in the wreck.  She’s less believing than Minty (wouldn’t someone official come to see her about the body?), but is happy enough to believe he’s dead, since she has other plans.  Fiona’s nasty fiance, on the other hand, has just disappeared, and while her neighbors think she’s better off, she is heartbroken.  The three stories intertwine to cover murder and political scandal and madness, all in Rendell’s devastatingly cold and clear prose.  A great read, if you like mysteries, and like them in the Highsmith sharp and nasty vein.

Date/Place Completed: August 2009; D.C.

Categories: Fiction; Ruth Rendell Project

© Carrie Dunsmore 2017