The Tree of Hands

Ruth Rendell

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Every time I finish a Ruth Rendell book, I swear I’m not going to read another. Her villains really get under my skin and take up residence in my mind. Then one of my subscription services offered a few of her titles at a low price, and I found myself seduced into buying them. I’m glad I did because I found out that that they aren’t all straightforward murder mysteries, but they all show her wonderful ability to craft unforgettable characters.

Chief among them is a woman whose young son dies in hospital. Her mad mother kidnaps a replacement child, and the woman cannot force herself to return him. The second  character is the boyfriend of the missing child’s mother, who is suspected of killing him. Third is a former boyfriend of the child’s mother, who is planning his greatest theft and getaway.

By the end of the book, Rendell has wrapped up all three of the stories in this most intricately plotted ending that is still satisfying. Now that I realize that Ms Rendell can write a book without unbalanced killers, I am more willing to take a chance on her. Especially at $1.99 each.

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