22 September 2011

Forgotten Book: THE SECRET HOUSE OF DEATH, Ruth Rendell

This contribution to Pattinase's Friday's Forgotten Books is from my records for 1993.
I was an admirer of Ruth Rendell and an avid reader of her books from the 1970s.

THE SECRET HOUSE OF DEATH is an early standalone novel published in 1968.

Publisher's Blurb

Susan Townsend was the only resident with no interest in the affair going on next door in Orchard Drive, or in the neighbourhood gossip about it. Yet it was Susan who found the bodies of the lovers locked in death. And it was Susan whose own life would be imperilled by a monstrous crime.

From the inside flap of the dustjacket
Louise North doesn't care what the neighbors think. She lets her lover leave his car just outside her house in broad daylight, telling everyone a cockamamie story about him being a central heating salesman. Still, it's a shock when she's found shot dead, covered by the equally dead body of the "salesman." Now Susan Townsend -- the Norths' next-door neighbor, who discovers the bodies -- must help Louise's husband, Bob, get back on his feet. But is she helping a neighbor . . . or a murderer?

The story was filmed for TV in the Ruth Rendell Mysteries 1987

Director:Jim Goddard

Writers:Ruth Rendell (novel), John Harvey (adaptation)

Original Air Date: 8 March 1996 

Film blurb: A lonely divorcée becomes involved with a neighbor whose wife and her lover carried out a suicide pact. Unaware that Bob and Magdalene are the adulterers who murdered their spouses and faked the suicide pact, Susan offers her neighbour comfort, which he pretends to accept in order to find out how much she knows. However, whilst her son is on holiday with his father she does some sleuthing which links him with Magdalene. He comes after her and she is rescued by an unlikely saviour.


pattinase (abbott) said...

Rendell is the most consistently good mystery writer in my lifetime.

Dorte H said...

Even though I agree with Patti, this one is not among my favourites, but I was impressed by the plot.

George said...

I met Ruth Rendell at a BOUCHERCON a decade or so ago. She was very personable. She told me her favorite writer was Henry James.

Naima Haviland said...

Thanks for mentioning this one. I can never get enough Ruth Rendell! I also love Shirley Jackson; I think they're similar in the way they wind their plots along the twisted paths of their protagonists' obsessive thoughts :)


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