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Summary

The man who had died was Ismay's stepfather, Guy. Nine years on, she and her sister, Heather, still live in the same house in Clapham. But it has been divided into two self-contained flats. Their mother lives upstairs with her sister, Pamela. And the bathroom, where Guy drowned, has disappeared. Ismay works in public relations, and Heather in catering.

They get on well. They always have. They never discuss the changes to the house, still less what happened that August day. But even lives as private as these, where secrets hang in the air like dust, intertwine with other worlds and other people. And, with painful inevitability, the truth will emerge.

©2006 Kingsmarkham Enterprises Ltd (P)2014 Audible, Inc.

What listeners say about The Water's Lovely

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    4 out of 5 stars

Classic Rendell

Strap in for the ride as the carefully-drawn characters perform their complicated interweaving dance and Rendell takes you exactly where she chooses. She's in the driver's seat as always. Wall or cliff, you just have to wait and see. Lovely reading too.

5 people found this helpful

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Riveting!

At almost 70 I’ve been a very late convert to Ruth Rendell - I think partly because when I was younger there was a very contagious (and totally spurious!) literary snobbery against “crime fiction’ - so it’s been a real treat to find so many of her novels downloadable for free on Audible and I’ve been gobbling them up at the rate of 2 or 3 per week and can’t get enough of this prolific author’s excellent output. A great strength of “The Water’s Lovely” is the utter believability of each of a disparate cast of characters, from petty criminals on the margins of society blagging & scheming “to get by”, to the upper class “entitled” male bully and his counterpart, the uber wealthy airhead; to vicious self-centred ageing middle-class females who’ve never lifted a finger in their lives but waste no time stirring up everyone else’s, to victimhood addicts, to the sort of middle management pub bore who suspects whole swathes of the population of ripping off the taxpayer - and so on, all immediately identifiable and, sadly, probably reminding us of someone we’ve met, and yet beautifully drawn with great psychological insights and empathy, such that we’re presented with individuals who feel “real”, with no clichés or cardboard cut-outs. All wrapped up in a page-turner where you’re constantly second guessing each one’s next move or piece of villainy, and the significance of the title is only revealed at the very end by which time it’s clear that the water is going to be pretty “unlovely” for all but just a couple of the protagonists!
Ms Rendell must have had several atlases plus a wide-angle camera lodged in her brain because, just as she brings rural England to life in the Wexford novels, so also does she penetrate the London streets and parks so you almost feel as if you’re trotting around this cityscape alongside her characters.

Beautifully and feelingly read by Siân Thomas.


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A bit dull

I found that this seemed to be set in a time gone by and not the modern day. I kept thinking it would pick up, but it never did.

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Masterful

So impressed by her skill in building a story and wrapping it up with a neat bow on top

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One of her best!

Really absorbing and enjoyable with the usual array of pretty horrible ‘extras’ and the two sisters more fully realised. Reminded me of a poem (Rondeau Redouble) by Wendy Cope in which the first line is ‘There are so many kinds of awful men’ !!

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Gripping and full of suspense right up until the last page

Another Rendell classic, perfectly narrated by Sian Thomas.
This masterful story of unproved murder and family tensions cannot be bettered.

1 person found this helpful

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Superb narration, a creepily complex creation

Oh Ruth Rendel, on tip top form again, this is one to savour. Sian reads it so smoothly, so believably and without a moment’s break from the escalating tension. Heather and Ismay two close sisters have a thirteen year old memory of horror that neither has fully explained. Trying to make sense of it drives Ismay to a terrible belief. Everything in this story happens for a reason. Blackmail, murder, theft and extortion, dishonesty and long buried guilt all combine to keep you listening until it’s all over. Right to the last few paragraphs slyly hinted at in a reference to - bookshelves!

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Keeps you guessing until the end

Exquisitely detailed description of all characters and evolution of their relationships. Central mystery is kept under wraps until the end.

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utterly gorgeous in its

complexity of characters storyline and narration. absolutely loved this book by Rendell. The narrator Sian Thomas was a find indeed.

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Superb

This had me hooked and intrigued all the way through. Enjoyed all the characters and loved the way they were interwoven. Excellent narration.

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  • wobbly
  • 08-05-14

Not my favorite RR

The story was engaging, and I wanted to know what would happen - but frankly was glad when it was over. I cared about Heather and Edmund, but found all of the other characters simply irritating. I've enjoyed Ruth Rendell's books for a long time, but this is not a favorite.

2 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • night owl
  • 15-05-17

Slow Moving But Good

Not one of Rendells best but still worth reading. Great variety of characters to care about and hate. Slow in parts but kept my interest. If you're a big Rendell fan you'll want to read this.If not a fan of her kind of story pass it by.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Ann
  • 01-08-21

Rendell read well

Siam Thomas made me stick with this elaborately worked out group of couples and their interconnections. I can’t say It was the author at her best.

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  • juliet
  • 29-11-15

Creepy mystery

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

It was entertaining but I wouldn't listen to it again

Would you be willing to try another book from Ruth Rendell? Why or why not?

No. I have read a lot of good things about Ruth's writing and this one didn't really do it for me.

Have you listened to any of Siân Thomas’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Yes, I love Sian's work and have bought several books just because she is the narrator.

Did The Water's Lovely inspire you to do anything?

No.

Any additional comments?

I had hoped for a bit more.