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A spectacularly compelling story of blackmail, murders both accidental and opportunistic, and of one life’s fateful unraveling from Ruth Rendell—“one of the most remarkable novelists of her generation” (People)—writing at her most acute and mesmerizing.
When his father dies, Carl Martin inherits a house in an increasingly rich and trendy London neighborhood. Carl needs cash, however, so he rents the upstairs room and kitchen to the first person he interviews, Dermot McKinnon. That was colossal mistake number one. Mistake number two was keeping his father’s bizarre collection of homeopathic “cures” that he found in the medicine cabinet, including a stash of controversial diet pills. Mistake number three was selling fifty of those diet pills to a friend, who is then found dead.
Dermot seizes a nefarious opportunity and begins to blackmail Carl, refusing to pay rent, and creepily invading Carl’s space. Ingeniously weaving together two storylines that finally merge in one shocking turn, Ruth Rendell describes one man’s spiral into darkness—and murder—as he falls victim to a diabolical foe he cannot escape.
This is masterful storytelling that gets under your skin, brilliant psychological suspense from Ruth Rendell. “No one surpasses Ruth Rendell when it comes to stories of obsession, instability, and malignant coincidence” (Stephen King).
About the Author
Ruth Rendell (1930–2015) won three Edgar Awards, the highest accolade from Mystery Writers of America, as well as four Gold Daggers and a Diamond Dagger for outstanding contribution to the genre from England’s prestigious Crime Writers’ Association. Her remarkable career spanned a half century, with more than sixty books published. A member of the House of Lords, she was one of the great literary figures of our time.
Praise for Ruth Rendell
“If you’re unfamiliar with Ruth Rendell, if you’ve somehow managed to miss her sixty or so books … then, congratulations: Your reading life is about to get infinitely richer."
— Jonathan Shapiro
"No one surpasses Ruth Rendell when it comes to stories of obsession, istability, and malignant coincidence."
— Stephen King
“Unequivocally the most brilliant mystery writer of our time.
— Patricia Cornwell
“Rendell has for years, along with her friend P.D. James, been bringing new sophistication and psychological depth to the traditional English mystery.”
“Ruth Rendell is my dream writer. Her prose style...has the disquieting intimacy of an alien touch in the dark.”
— Marilyn Stasio
Praise for Dark Corners
“Every aspect of Ruth Rendell’s dark art is splendidly showcased in Dark Corners. One can’t say she saved the best for last, because a great many books by Ms. Rendell and her alter ego Barbara Vine are so splendid, but it’s among the best. You won’t put it down. I loved it.”
— Stephen King
"A worthy addition to the canon... Rendell once again exhumes the depths of obsession and traces each step in a sympathetic character's downward spiral. It has both a mythic element--all the trouble starts with a box that shouldn't have been opened--and a Victorian bent, in that it features an inheritance that dooms the recipient... This is stunningly suspenseful and often downright creepy."
"A spectacularly creepy and macabre tale from Rendell."
“DARK CORNERS, Ruth Rendell’s final mystery novel, ranks among her best… Including those she published as Barbara Vine, DARK CORNERS is Ruth Rendell’s 66th novel — and her last. Rendell, who was made a life peer as Baroness Rendell of Babergh in 1997, died in May of this year at the age of 85.Throughout her prolific output, she maintained high standards, winning three American Edgars and multiple British awards for best mystery novel. One of her Inspector Wexford novels, A Guilty Thing Surprised (1970), was long-listed for the Lost Man Booker Prize. As a longtime fan of Rendell’s, I naturally wanted to give DARK CORNERS a positive review, and luckily itdeserves one…Let me finish by saluting the late Baroness Rendell in the proper British fashion: Well done, my lady.”
“Ruth Rendell’s final novel, DARK CORNERS, is a deliciouslydiabolical tale on a favorite theme: one person’s devouring of a weakerperson’s identity…Carl may be sitting pretty, but he’s just the sort ofweak-willed milquetoast Rendell enjoys tearing into little bits.”
“The late Ruth Rendell put a permanent stamp on crime fiction with 65 novels of screw-twisting suspense, written under both her own name and the pseudonym Barbara Vine. The posthumously published DARK CORNERS is a worthy final entry in her body of work.”
“Let us nowpraise Ruth Rendell — and mourn her, for herself and for her millions ofreaders. The prolific British writer died this year at age 85…she won widepraise for her dark tales of suspense mixed with significant psychologicalaspects. One of the past half century’s leading practitioners of the genre, shetranscended and expanded it. Now we have her final novel, DARK CORNERS — agripping story of blackmail and death… one cannot turn the pages ofthis trademark Rendell novel without feeling a rising chill and hearing thewhispered hiss of a snake. The author blends the mundane with the menacing,all the while infusing her story with edgy humor…DARK CORNERSprovides lovers of intimate and intelligent fiction with a final bequest from awriter who ranks among the best and whose body of work likely will be read andre-read for many years.”
“Thisis a beguiling, powerful novel, made poignant by the staggering realizationthat this is the last of a feast of characters and narratives. Everythingthat makes Rendell's work so memorable—gothic but believable people and plots,simple yet vivid prose, peerlessly rendered settings, and fear and despair asthe twin ‘parents’ of violence—is in evidence here.”
“With DARK CORNERS, Rendell, who perfected the art of the truly suspenseful, psychological thriller, clearly had one final trick of drawn-out intensity up her sleeve… Rendell’s delicious, quasi tongue-in-cheek atmosphere is so finely-tuned and tightly wound that it manages to be menacing and mesmerizing while harboring a nearly over-the-top element of the melodramatic.… The book inspires a perpetual niggling level of anxiety, the persistent white noise of tension and jittery energy that Rendell honed to bone-cutting sharpness over her long and celebrated career… Meanwhile, she incorporates tart, amusing, and canny observations on the current state of everything from the challenge of grown children moving in with parents — or, in some cases, never leaving — to the lack of affordable housing in London, the presence of random violence, Cones of Shame on pets. From the creepiness of a character who relishes causing fear in others, to the surprising ways in which a football-size pottery goose can come in handy, DARK CORNERS proves that Rendell never lost her touch."
“I’m so sad that there will never be another new Ruth Rendell mystery to look forward to, but I’m so glad she had this last one in the pipeline… Her Inspector Wexford novels, her books under the name Barbara Vine, and these standalones full of uneasy menace will all be missed.”