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  • The Rottweiler
  • Written by Ruth Rendell
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  • The Rottweiler
  • Written by Ruth Rendell
  • Format: eBook | ISBN: 9780307429285
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Written by Ruth RendellAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Ruth Rendell

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List Price: $11.99

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On Sale: December 18, 2007
Pages: 352 | ISBN: 978-0-307-42928-5
Published by : Vintage Knopf
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Synopsis|Excerpt

Synopsis

The first victim had bite marks on her neck so the London papers nicknamed her killer, “the Rottweiler.” He has been stalking the small and diverse London community of Lisson Grove, where Inez Ferry runs an antique shop frequented by a motley collection of eccentric individuals. When the Rottweiler’s trinkets start showing up in the shop, suddenly, everyone Inez knows is a suspect, and the killer feels all too close. Enthralling and deeply unsettling, The Rottweiler alternates expertly between the mind of a psychopath and the daily affairs of those living in his shadow. It is a transfixing mystery that only Ruth Rendell could write.

Excerpt

The jaguar stood in a corner of the shop between a statue of some minor Greek deity and a jardinière. Inez thought it said a lot about the world we lived in that to most people when you said 'jaguar' they took it to mean a car and not an animal. This one, black and about the size of a very large dog, had once been a jungle creature someone's grandfather, a big game hunter, had shot and had stuffed. The someone had brought it into the shop the day before and offered it to Inez at first for ten pounds, then for nothing. It was an embarrassment having it in the house, he said, worse than being seen in a fur coat.

Inez only took it to get rid of him. The jaguar's yellow glass eyes had seemed to look reproachfully at her. Sentimental nonsense, she said to herself. Who would buy it? She had thought it might seem more attractive at eight forty-five in the morning but it was just the same, its fur harsh to the touch, its limbs stiff and its expression baleful. She turned her back on it and in the little kitchen behind the shop put the kettle on for the tea she always made herself and always shared these days with Jeremy Quick from the top floor.

Punctual as ever, he tapped on the inside door, and came in as she carried the tray back into the shop. 'How are you today, Inez?'

He, and he alone, pronounced her name in the Spanish way, Eeneth, and he had told her the Spanish in Spain, but not in South America, pronounced it like that because one of their kings had had a lisp and they copied him out of deference. That sounded like an apocryphal story to her but she was too polite to say so. She handed him his teacup with a sweetener tablet in the spoon. He always walked about, carrying it.

'What on earth is that?'

She had known he would ask. 'A jaguar.'

'Will anyone buy it?'

'I expect it will join the ranks of the grey armchair and the Chelsea china clock that I'll be left with until I die.'

He patted the animal's head. 'Zeinab not in yet?'

'Please. She says she has no concept of time. In that case, I said, if you've no concept of time, why aren't you ever early?'

He laughed. Inez thought, and not for the first time, that he was rather attractive. Too young for her, of course, or was he? Not perhaps in these days when opinions about that sort of thing were changing. He seemed no more than seven or eight years her junior. 'I'd better be off. Sometimes I think I'm too aware of time.' Carefully, he replaced his cup and saucer on the tray. 'Apparently, there's been another murder.'

'Oh, no.'

'It was on the news at eight. And not far from here. I must go.'

Instead of expecting her to unlock the shop door and let him out, he went back the way he had come and out into Star Street by way of the tenants' entrance. Inez didn't know where he worked, somewhere on the northern outskirts of London, she thought, and what he did had something to do with computers. So many people did these days. He had a mother of whom he was fond and a girlfriend, his feelings for whom he never mentioned. Just once Inez had been invited up to his top-floor flat and admired the minimalist decor and his roof garden.

At nine she opened the shop door and carried the bookstand out on to the pavement. The books that went in it were ancient paperbacks by forgotten authors but occasionally one would sell for 50p. Someone had parked a very dirty white van at the kerb. Inez read a notice stuck in the van's window: Do not wash. Vehicle undergoing scientific dirt analysis. That made her laugh.

It was going to be a fine day. The sky was a soft pale blue and the sun coming up behind the terraces of little houses and the tall corner shops with three floors above. It would have been nicer if the air had been fresh instead of reeking of diesel and emissions and green curry and the consequences of men relieving themselves against the hoardings in the small hours, but that was modern life. She said good morning to Mr Khoury who was (rather optimistically) lowering the canopy at the front of the jeweller's next door.

'Good morning, madam.' His tone was gloomy and dour as ever.

'I've got an earring that's lost its what-d'you-call-it, its post,' she said. 'Can you get it repaired if I bring it in later?'

'I shall see.' He always said that, as if he was doing you a favour. On the other hand, he always did repair things.

Zeinab, breathless, came running down Star Street. 'Hi, Mr Khoury. Hi, Inez. Sorry I'm late. You know I've no concept of time.'

Inez sighed. 'So you always tell me.'

Zeinab kept her job because, if Inez were honest with herself and she nearly always was, her assistant was a better saleswoman than she was. She could have sold an elephant gun to a conservationist, as Jeremy once said. Some of it was due to her looks, of course. Zeinab's beauty was the reason so many men came in. Inez didn't flatter herself, she'd plenty of confidence but she knew she'd seen better days, and though she'd been as good-looking as Zeinab once upon a time, it was inevitable that at fifty-five she couldn't compete. She was far from the woman she had been when Martin first saw her twenty years before. No chap was going to cross the street to buy a ceramic egg or a Victorian candlestick from her.

Zeinab looked like the female lead in one of those Bollywood movies. Her black hair came not just to her waist but to the tops of her slender thighs. In nothing but her hair to cover 3 her she could have ridden a horse down Star Street with perfect propriety. Her face was as if someone had taken the best feature from the faces of half a dozen currently famous film stars and put them all together. When she smiled, if you were a man, your heart melted and your legs threatened to buckle. Her hands were like pale flowers on some tropical tree and her skin the texture of a lily petal touched by the setting sun. She always wore very short skirts and very high-heeled shoes, pure white T-shirts in summer and pure white fluffy sweaters in winter and a single diamond (or sparkling stone) in one perfect nostril.

Her voice was less attractive, her accent not the endearing musical tones of upper-class Karachi but nearer Eliza Doolittle's Lisson Grove cockney, which was odd considering her parents lived in Hampstead and, according to her, she was practically a princess. Today she was wearing a black leather skirt, opaque black tights and a sweater that looked like the pelt of an angora rabbit, white as snow and downy as a swan's breast. She walked daintily about the shop, carrying her teacup in one hand and in the other a rainbow-coloured feather duster, flicking dust off silver cruets, ancient musical instruments, cigarette cases, thirties fruit brooches, Clarice Cliffe plates and the four-masted schooner in a bottle. Customers didn't realise what a task it was keeping a place like this clean. Dust soon gave it a shabby look as if the shop was seldom patronised. She paused in front of the jaguar. 'Where did that come from?'

'A customer gave it to me. After you'd gone yesterday.'

'Gave it to you?'

'I imagine he knew the poor thing wasn't worth anything.'

'There's been another girl murdered,' said Zeinab. 'Down Boston.' Anyone not in the know might have thought she was talking about Boston, Massachusetts, or even Boston, Lincs, but what she meant was Boston Street, NW1, which ran alongside Marylebone Station.

'How many does that make?'

'Three. I'll get us an evening paper the minute they come in.'
Ruth Rendell

About Ruth Rendell

Ruth Rendell - The Rottweiler

Photo © Jerry Bauer

Ruth Rendell is the author of Road Rage, The Keys to the Street, Bloodlines, Simisola, and The Crocodile Bird. She is the winner of the Mystery Writers of America Grand Master Award. She is also the recipient of three Edgars from the Mystery Writers of America and four Gold Daggers from Great Britain’s Crime Writers Association. In 1997, she was named a life peer in the House of Lords. Ruth Rendell also writes mysteries under the name of Barbara Vine, of which A Dark Adapted Eye is the most famous. She lives in England.
Praise

Praise

"Classic Rendell, macabre and fast-paced, the kind of tale that makes you look twice at the shadows and dark corners of your own street. Grade: A." --Entertainment Weekly"Clever. . . . Especially sure-handed. . . . An expert, teasing mystery." --The New York Times "One of the few don't-miss authors in the genre. . . . Ruth Rendell is one of those writers one reads for the sheer joy of the way she puts words together. . . . The novel is superbly crafted. Read it when you have plenty of time to savor its many delights." -- The Plain Dealer"The British master of style, suspense, complexity and creepy villains...Rendell is the perfect storyteller. . . . If you read only one novel this year, make it The Rottweiler." --The Orlando Sentinel"Powerful and appealing.... [Rendell] has the mystery form down pat." --The Washington Post"Ruth Rendell's books always rise to the top. She's so good..... In her quiet, silken-noose way, Rendell illuminates these people, traces their intersecting paths, and gives them meaning and substance." --The Seattle Times"Rendell is a master of the tires-on-ice moment, the moment when the intersecting elements begin their inexorable slide into calamity.... [Her] body of work...constitutes one of the most precise and unflinching contributions to contemporary English fiction." --Salon "Subtle, witty, and observant, Rendell creates a rich tapestry of characters and interweaves their stories.... The story of the killer provides the adrenaline, but the smaller stories of Becky, Inez, Zeinab, and the rest give this novel a beating heart." --The Boston Globe"Rendell's prose is incisive and clear, peeling away the complex layers that her characters, no matter how ordinary they appear, actually possess." --The Baltimore Sun"The author trains a...penetrating eye on the psychology behind her characters' foibles.... Even the most innocent secrets...have a function in the macabre scenario that ultimately flushes out the killer." --The New York Times Book Review"As usual, Rendell presents an intricate and intriguing story with a penetrating glimpse into the sometimes evil, sometimes pitiable, but always fascinating depths of human nature." --San Diego Union-Tribune"[Proves] again that, in the world of contemporary crime fiction, Rendell really is top dog." --The Times (London)

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