The Chimney Sweeper's Boy
A daughter setting out to write a biography of her author father uncovers deadly secrets in his past
After celebrated author Gerald Candless dies of a heart attack, his daughter Sarah sets out to write his life story. But Sarah soon learns that although Gerald passionately loved his two daughters, he had a complicated and mysterious private life. The more she uncovers, t
I did not remember most of it, although it had left me with some impressions that I would only recognize had become part of my thoughts when I read those parts this second time around. It is a very unhappy book for nearly every character, if you are looking for happy endings ...more
The Chimney Sweeper's Boy is peopled by an odd assortment of characters whose histories are the fabric of the novel. It's not a standard mystery, not a standard type plot, but you'll find yourself compulsively reading to find out how ...more
Vine's prose offers no whimsy or originality; it's pretty much four hundred pages of simple declarative sentences. There is very little dialogue, and what little of it exists is scripted entirely by ...more
I found myself feeling irritated by the two very selfish daughters who treat their mother like she doesn't exist, and I'm bothered that by the end of the book, they STILL don't realize what their mother went through. I would have liked to see some resolution. I would have liked to have an actual ending to the story. It seems as though the story ends before there is any closure for any of the characters. I wanted to see ...more
This one is classic Barbara Vine. You know the "mystery" right away. It's the way the mystery is solved and how the story unfolds that's intriguing. You can see it coming about 100 pages from the end, but the way she hooks you in is by making you want to know the exquisite details of the story. The details aren't just technical things like guns, alibis, idiotic and awkward explanations, and the rest that normal "mys ...more
P. D. James writes: "Ruth Rendell writing as Barb ...more
This was a strange book. Hard to put down. I did not find a single character that I could feel true sympathy with, Gerald was arrogant and domineering. I wanted to shake Ursula for being so submissive and accepting of his mental abuse. The daughters were spoilt and immature. What a family but a good read and I was intrigued to find what his secret was at the very end of the book! I can't see why the events would cause Gerald to become so unloving and hard, can somone ...more
It's a mystery novel, but not not a murder mystery. The daughter of a well-known author is asked to write a memoir or biography of her father after his death, but in spite of having enjoyed a close relationship with him as a child, she finds she knows very little abo ...more
Candless’s narcissistic self-absorption and obsessive devotion to his daughters have left Ursula, his wife, puzzled and, eventually, estranged. Hope, the younger daughter, is shattered. But Sarah, the elder, decides to take on his publisher’s request and write a biography of her father.
Her research soon uncovers shocking revel ...more
Vine makes unattractive people into really absorbing characters, whom you care about almos ...more
Barbara Vine writes in a way that gives you nightmares and sleepless nights. So, do you really want to know who he was? Do we really want to know the secrets that drove him to live his life as a lie? Yes. Vine is ...more
Als een beroemd schrijver overlijdt, neemt een van zijn dochters de taak op zich zijn biografie te schrijven. Daarbij ontdekt ze echter dat haar vader in 1951 een valse identiteit had aangenomen. Wie hij in werkelijkheid was, en waarom hij het nodig had gevonden alle contacten met zi ...more
I was going along fine as the story was being set up. Imagine your father is a famous author who adores his daughters and appears to tolerate his wife. Suddenly he dies of a heart attack. His publisher asks one of the daughters to write a biography of her father. So far so good.
As she begins doing r ...more
'She was staring at the couple like a pet car in front of an empty plate' p. 45
'She had come home and luxuriated in her solitude, drinking too much and falling asleep fully clothed on the hearthrug'. P. 289
'Robert has his own beliefs about those who were exce ...more
I was really fascinated at the beginning of the book, and w ...more
As with the Blood Doctor, she takes the current fad for genealogy as her starting point for a sweeping multi-generational epic about secrets and lies, the nature of family, identity and its reinvention. A thumpingly good mystery novel that also explores serious themes in a complex fashion.
Downsides: it's never a good idea to write about a community to which you don't belong and I imagine RR/BV may be guilty of patronising stereotypes. Can't say anymore without giv ...more
Noted author Gerald Candless dies at 71, leaving an embittered wife and two adoring daughters, Sarah and Hope. Sarah is approached by her father's publisher with the suggestion that she pen a memoir of life with her father. When she begins to do research, however she finds that her father's very identity is a puzzle. The real Gerald Candless died when he was a small boy, so who was calling himself ...more
When bestselling literary novelist Gerald Candless dies of a heart attack, he leaves behind the widow whom for decades he has ostracized from his affe ...more
The story revolves around questions of identity. Even though the essential mystery is solved as far as the reader is concerned, I was left thinking about the characters and wondering what happens next.
Rendell created a third strand of writing with the publication of A Dark Adapted Eye under her pseudonym Barbara Vine in 1986. Books such as King Solomon's Carpet, A Fatal Inversion and Anna's Book (original UK title Asta's Book) inhabit the same territory as her psychological crime novels while they further develop themes of family misunderstandings and the side effects of sec ...more