>Barbara Vine, A Dark-Adapted Eye (1986)

Review no 100!

This psychological thriller is the first one crime fiction writer Ruth Rendell wrote under the pen name Barbara Vine.

In the first chapter, the reader learns that Vera Hillyard, Faith´s aunt, was executed for murder several years before the story begins. Over the next three-hundred pages we get to know Faith´s family, her father John and his sisters Vera and Eden who seem to be such a close unity when Faith has to stay with them during the Second World War. Faith struggles to be accepted by the two formidable women, but on the whole in vain.

I have read this wonderful thriller before, but thoroughly enjoyed meeting the characters again. Rendell´s Wexford series is police procedural of high quality, but I love the Vine books even more. So bear with me, dear reader, but I plan to review (read: recommend) my favourites while I am participating in my new writing course.

It is difficult to say exactly what is so fascinating about Vera and Eden, these two complacent, self-absorbed women, but I think many of us have tried being the third wheel, struggling desperately to fit in, to say the right things and to win grudging praise from our idols. And later there is little Jamie, of course, “the catalyst who had brought it all about.”

No spoilers, but another aspect I admire is the rather open ending. Who is the sinner, who is sinned against?

Well, if you should not have grasped it yet: I think this book is fabulous!

About Dorte Hummelshøj Jakobsen

I am a Danish teacher. In my spare time I read, write and review crime fiction.
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