03 February 2011

Book Review: Portobello, by Ruth Rendell

PortobelloPortobello by Ruth Rendell

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

London's Portobello Road got its name from the War of Jenkins's Ear and is the setting of this book, where several people's lives intersect in various ways, sometimes accidentally, but also sometimes with far-reaching consequences, including two murders.

Ruth Rendell writes two kinds of crime novels. Some are whodunits, featuring her detective protagonist Inspector Wexford. Others concentrate on the characters, and how people's character and circumstances lead them to commit a crime. Perhaps one could call the second kind whydunits. This, in a sense, is neither. The crimes are almost incidental to the story. The main focus is on the interaction of the characters and how their lives are changed as a result, often in unintended ways. Rendell's characters are well drawn, but while reading it I found myself more drawn to another book, Nine lives which I bought while still reading the Rendall one. I found the real-life characters more interesting than fictional ones, no matter how well drawn.

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Clarissa said...

I love Ruth Rendell but her most recent books (Portobello, A Monster in the Box, Tigerlily's Orchard) are really not at the same level as her classics. Even as recently as 5-10 years ago, she was still writing her best novels. So I hope that this is a minor bad streak in her writing.

boros1124 said...

Very good book. The best book is this:


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