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Dark Corners by Ruth Rendell
A spectacularly compelling story of blackmail, murders both accidental and opportunistic, and of one life’s fateful unraveling from Ruth Rendell -- “one of the most remarkable novelists of her generation” (People) -- writing at her most acute and mesmerizing.

When his father dies, Carl Martin inherits a house in an increasingly rich and trendy London neighborhood. 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 homeopathic “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.
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I have been a Ruth Rendell fan for all of my reading life, so of course I had to read her last book. Ruth Rendell passed away In May of this year, just shortly after her contemporary novelist P.D. James. It was a very sad year for these ladies legions of readers. I know that I for one wondered who would fill the void. In all honesty, I can't think of any one author that could even attempt to fill these two pairs of very big shoes. I don't think that this book is anywhere near Ms. Rendell's best, but she can out-write and out-plot any author with one had tied behind her back. No one can depict what seems to be a perfectly ordinary life unravel so convincingly. Carl Martin is that ordinary guy. He is a published young author who has inherited his father's house in a notable neighbourhood like Maida Vale. He doesn't think he needs the whole house for his own living space, so he decides to rent the upper floor. This would provide him with a steady income while he worked on his next book. But in true Ruth Rendell fashion, things begin to fall apart fairly quickly for Carl, and he effectively becomes almost a prisoner in his own house when his tenant decides to blackmail him for a small mistake in judgement that resulted in the death of Carl's friend. Carl soon makes choices that he never would have considered months earlier. We read and watch as Carl and his neat little life spiral out of control. Ms. Rendell leads us down a deep and dark hole, that, no matter how hard we try, we can't avoid. Dark and suspenseful, this book doesn't disappoint.
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