Ruth Rendell has written yet another intricately plotted book. And, like all her other books I've read, her characters are multi-faceted. John Creevey's wife has recently left him which has left him emotionally devastated. On one of his long walks he discovers a "drop" whereby two different groups are dropping notes to each other. John reads the notes but makes sure to put them back after he's read them. He thinks they may be from either some sort of mafia or even spyrings. After a few unsuccessful attempts to get his wife back and a terrible encounter with an acquaintance, John decides to answer the notes he finds hoping to get his wife's boyfriend in trouble and thereby get his wife back. This ploy also doesn't work. Meanwhile, the spyrings are up to their own tricks. Fourteen year old Charles is sent on a mission which also turns out terrible. But Charles is brilliant; a prime candidate for future sociopath of England. These two plots intertwine beautifully. Newsweek describes Ms Rendell's books as strange, disturbing, seductive. The ending isn't tied up neatly but done in a way to keep possibilities open. For me, the only "down" to this book were the descriptions of the factory area where John takes his walks. There were terms used that I had no idea what was meant. Yet, still, this desolate are successfully conveys an ominous feeling.
absorbing and tense-good rendell.