Ruth Rendell: A Judgement in Stone

(1004 words)
  • Susan A. Rowland (University of Greenwich)

A Judgement in Stone (1977) begins by breaking the rules of a crime novel. In the opening sentence the reader is told the full extent of the crime, the murder of the whole Coverdale family, the murderer, Eunice Parchman, and why she did it: because she could not read and write. Where the traditional crime story starts with a puzzle, this novel begins with a solution. Only it is not so simple. Rendell compounds her challenge to generic boundaries by revealing at once what many of her novels build to at the conclusion, the mysterious nature of crime, motivation and desire. How can illiteracy lead to murder? A Judgement in Stone proceeds to show us.

The fateful collision between Eunice and the …

Please log in to consult the article in its entirety. If you are a member (student of staff) of a subscribing institution (see List), you should be able to access the LE on campus directly (without the need to log in), and off-campus either via the institutional log in we offer, or via your institution's remote access facilities, or by creating a personal user account with your institutional email address. If you are not a member of a subscribing institution, you will need to purchase a personal subscription. For more information on how to subscribe as an individual user, please see under Individual Subcriptions.

Rowland, Susan A.. "A Judgement in Stone". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 17 October 2006
[, accessed 27 September 2016.]

Related Groups

  1. Crime, Detective, Spy/ Thriller Fiction