Saturday, May 13, 2006

Ruth Rendell's The Bridesmaid

Book Cover: The Bridesmaid

I was browsing my bookshelves Monday, looking for books to donate to my local library, when I came across The Bridesmaid, a book I'd bought a long time ago and never read. One thing leads to another, and before I knew it I was cuddled up to the wood stove, reading through the cold, rainy afternoon. I knew Ruth Rendell is very popular, and very successful, and I was delighted to discover that she is a skillful writer. It makes me think better of the whole book business, writers, buyers, and sellers.

The Bridesmaid is more of a suspense story than a mystery. While it takes the form of genre fiction, its characters and plot are beautifully developed, and the recurrent image of a Classical goddess, Flora, ties up the subplots elegantly. I believe if she were less popular and less well-marketed, Ms. Rendell would be considered a "serious" writer, fit for university literature classes. Of course, I've seen two (!) books of scholarly essays on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, so perhaps the best-seller listings no longer exclude books from the Literature department.

Some On-Line Resources on Ruth Rendell:

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