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Summary

A spectacularly compelling story of blackmail, murders both accidental and opportunistic, and one life’s fateful unravelling from Ruth Rendell, writing at her most acute and mesmerising.

When his father dies, Carl Martin inherits a house in an increasingly rich and trendy London neighbourhood. Carl needs cash, however, so he rents the upstairs room and kitchen to the first person he interviews, Dermot McKinnon. That was colossal mistake number one. Mistake number two was keeping his father’s bizarre collection of homoeopathic “cures” that he found in the medicine cabinet, including a stash of controversial diet pills. Mistake number three was selling fifty of those diet pills to a friend, who is then found dead.

Dermot seizes a nefarious opportunity and begins to blackmail Carl, refusing to pay rent and creepily invading Carl’s space.

Ingeniously weaving together two storylines that finally merge in one shocking turn, Ruth Rendell describes one man’s spiral into darkness - and murder - as he falls victim to a diabolical foe he cannot escape.

In Rendell’s dark and atmospheric tale of psychological suspense, we encounter mistaken identity, kidnap, blackmail, and a cast of characters who are so real that we come to know them better than we know ourselves. Infused with her distinctive blend of wry humour, acute observation and deep humanity, this is Rendell at her most memorable and best.

©2015 Ruth Rendell (P)2015 Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd

Critic reviews

"Unequivocally the most brilliant crime writer of our time." (Patricia Cornwell)
"No one surpasses Ruth Rendell when it comes to stories of obsession, instability, and malignant coincidence." (Stephen King)

What members say

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Another Rendell Classic

Fascinating character study of a modern psychopath.
Unfortunately the style of narration ruins it in my opinion, resembling as it does that of a nursery school teacher endeavouring to keep the attention of his or her infant charges. I found it both annoying and a distraction from the text.
A great pity.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Dark Corners

This novel, published posthumously in 2015 marked the end of Rendell's rich and insightful writing career, which was a tragedy for me and millions of other loyal fans. Once again, the Queen Of The Psychological Thriller writes about her favourite subjects: psychopaths residing in the gentrified areas of Maida Vale and the entwined lives of a disparate number of people.

I did enjoy it and pretty much raced through the story, playing it out loud whilst completing my chores. The characters were pretty well drawn, well, apart from the antagonist Dermot, who seemed to be taken from Rendell's back catalogue of social misfits.

Ric Jerrom's silkily sardonic narration was as excellent as ever. He really manages to install a sense of Menace with his subtle vocal nuances. Recommended.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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one of the bestest

Would you listen to Dark Corners again? Why?

yes ! the story and characters are so many faceted you need more than one listen

What other book might you compare Dark Corners to, and why?

for me rendell is stand alone and incomparable

Which character – as performed by Ric Jerrom – was your favourite?

most intriguing the main character, how one get into a situation and see know way out ! i wanted to shake him !!!

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

i always get emotionally involved in rendells many faceted charicters

Any additional comments?

you can always rely on ruth rendell for an emotional roller coster of a read

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Disappointing

Not up to her normal standard. Narrated well but very weak plot. Very unfeasable story

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mediocre un fulfilling stuff

think of this book like a ready meal
easy tp digest but not very satisfying
certainly needed more seasoning

1 of 5 people found this review helpful