Ruth Rendell

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Best-selling contemporary British author of police detective fiction, thrillers and psychological crime novels, Ruth Rendell troubles the contested boundary between “popular” and “literary” writer. She published in three related genres. Beginning in 1964,

From Doon with Death

introduces her liberal policeman, Inspector Wexford, guardian of fictional south of England town, Kingsmarkham. Rendell's second work,

To Fear a Painted Devil

(1965), is the first of her crime thrillers. These do not contain the reassuring presence of the detective. Rendell alternated these crime genres until 1986, and the publication of her first psychological novel under the name of Barbara Vine.

A Dark-Adapted Eye

demonstrated what were to become Vine motifs: the exploration of complex family…

2469 words

Citation: Rowland, Susan A.. "Ruth Rendell". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 22 October 2004; last revised 24 May 2022. [, accessed 13 April 2024.]

3746 Ruth Rendell 1 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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