Longer post later. It’s still sinking in. Just wanted to start the thread.
Someone on her Facebook fan page said it better than I could: “Hello England. You’ve gained a princess and lost a queen.”
Also interesting that it was a stroke that initially put her down. A stroke, or a potential one, was a big plot point in One Across, Two Down. One of her early ones, and IMO, the one in which she first found her voice.
She was one of my favorite writers. I got to see her do a reading late last year, a little before she had the stroke. An amazing author. We’ve lost a great one.
House of Stairs – Ruth Rendell writing as Barbara Vine – is one of my all time favorite books.
One of the great ones, indeed. I have been a crazed, fervent fan for years after reading Judgement In Stone, and pre-internet haunted bookstores trying to get my very own copies of her work. (and that of ‘Barbara Vine’). Her Inspector Wexford novels are among the best, not crass and violent, but more of thinking-mans’ procedurals, and very English. Her mad tales of sickness, folies au deux, psychopaths, and lurid obsession are haunting. But fun! And I always thought that some of her novels could be written as gay characters, which finally happened in No Night Is Too Long…oh, I could ramble on about my favorites for hours. A Fatal Inversion. A Dark-Adapted Eye. The Bridesmaid… Well, RIP, lady, and thank you so much for your work. I’ve spent many many hours in your often unnerving world!
My mother read a lot of British mystery authors - Agatha Christie, Ngaio Marsh, etc. Since they were all there in the house, I read them too. I liked Rendell’s work the most. It could be so devastating.
How have I managed to miss her? Wow.
<wanders off to Amazon>
Oh, what a shame. She has been a favorite of mine for years. She’s one of those writers who go far beyond typical genre expectations. I especially loved the novels she wrote under the pen name Barbara Vine (in particular A Dark-Adapted Eye, The Chimney Sweeper’s Boy, Anna’s Book), though I also loved The Tree of Hands, Talking to Strange Men, A Sight for Sore Eyes (Teddy is one of the most chilling characters in contemporary fiction). How sad to think there won’t be any more of her books to look forward to. R.I.P.
Huh. Coincidentally, I checked out from the library just last week the first ever book I’ve ever read (actually, been about to read) of hers. 13 Steps Down. Guess I’d better go ahead and open it.
I only finished my first book of hers a bit ago, The Crocodile Bird. it was pretty good and I was already planning more. I didn’t even realize she was still alive…and now she isn’t.
I hope this sad news will, at least, bring more readers who might be curious to her books.
I was just thinking about her 2000 Barbara Vine book Grasshopper recently. So many great books by her (under both names). She will be missed.
I’m so sad!
I discovered Ruth Rendell after seeing the 1994 TV movie of A Dark Adapted Eye with Helena Bonham Carter and Celia Imrie. I found the book, and the author was listed as “Ruth Rendell writing as Barbara Vine”. I went and read as many books as I could find by “both” authors.
I proofread 5 or 6 of her books. One of those all too rare authors who made me think, Wow! I’m actually getting paid to read this! The Inspector Wexford series was superb!
She did have a funny habit (encountered more than once) of changing the surname of a secondary character halfway through the ms. (and nobody preceding me apparently noticing until the book was in first-pass page proofs) …
A Fatal Inversion was an engrossing read, especially since I have particularly vivid memories of the Long Hot Summer.
That was my first Rendell, too! I read it maybe 15, 16 years ago, and it turned me into a fan. Simisola was my first Wexford, and I think my fave. So many great ones!