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Master of the Moor

3.74  ·  Rating Details  ·  756 Ratings  ·  49 Reviews
Stephen Whalby loves to walk the moor. He considers it his, although he and his young wife Lyn are merely tenants in a flat nearby. But the senseless and frightening murder of a young woman invades Stephen's sense of privacy and pollutes his beloved moor with suspicion and dread. And then a second murder captures his imagination in an unpredictable and fascinating way . . ...more
Hardcover, 219 pages
Published August 12th 1982 by Pantheon (first published 1982)
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The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg LarssonThe Big Sleep by Raymond ChandlerThe Maltese Falcon by Dashiell HammettThe Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark HaddonMurder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie
Detective Fiction
147th out of 767 books — 902 voters
Heist Society by Ally CarterStolen by Lucy ChristopherThe Spy Who Came In from the Cold by John le CarréMaster of the Moor by Ruth RendellPicnic at Hanging Rock by Joan Lindsay
Crime Reads For MHS Students
4th out of 8 books — 1 voter

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,194)
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Jul 13, 2014 Chris rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery-british
Even when Rendell’s books don’t grab me by the throat, they are still. Wuthering Heights, for instance, did a better job of conjuring a moor in my eye (so does Kate Bush’s song based on Bronte’s novel). Yet, the twist is properly lied out, and still surprises the reader. Nice way to spend a couple hours.

Crossposted at Booklikes.
Oct 13, 2012 Philip rated it it was ok
A Problem With Genre

As crime fiction goes, The Master of The Moor by Ruth Rendell is perhaps one of the more subtle examples. The action is set in a moorland community, presumably somewhere like North Yorkshire, though the book’s place names are pure invention and geography is not defined. There has been a murder, a fairly vicious affair where the young female victim – perhaps a cliché in itself – has not only been stabbed but scalped as well. The body has been discovered by Stephen, a large man
Roberta Frontini
My opinion on my blog:

Título: O Senhor da Charneca
Autor: Ruth Rendell
Páginas: 194
Género: Policial

Os policiais são dos nosso estilos favoritos! Ouvimos dizer maravilhas da autora Ruth Rendell, mas talvez tenhamos feito mal em começar por este livro: demasiado descritivo o que o torna muito maçudo. Depois de lermos este livros só nos dá vontade de comparar Ruth Rendell ao Eça de Queirós (pelas descrição infinitas).

História: Na bellissima Charneca, que muito
Lizzie Dewey
Dec 21, 2015 Lizzie Dewey rated it really liked it
Another excellent story from the master of the twisted mind! I love how Ruth Rendell conjures up these totally believable sociopaths!! I love how she keeps you guessing right to the end, and then, when you do finish, you think, "Ah! Of course!!".
Charles Dee Mitchell
Apr 27, 2014 Charles Dee Mitchell rated it liked it
Shelves: crime
I had never read Ruth Rendel, but I was getting over either a bad cold or a mild flu, and I wanted some easy reading with lots of story. That is just what I got.

Rendel plays with the conventions of the cozy, British village mystery by including truly grisly murders and characters that range from psychotic, to deeply disturbed, to clueless. The mystery is not too compelling, and some characters might as well be wearing t-shirts with "red herring" logos, but there are good twists and a couple of r
Judith Teggelaar
Mar 30, 2015 Judith Teggelaar rated it really liked it
Another well written book by Ruth Rendell. This one was unnerving but what would you expect when the main character is a creepy crackpot?
Carla Patterson
Nov 28, 2015 Carla Patterson rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2015-challenge
As often happens to me when reading Rendell, I was totally in love with her descriptions of places and sensations but not as thrilled with the direction her story went. Still, when listening to it read by John Lee, what's not to like? He is the perfect narrator for a novel such as this. There are some surprises which I didn't see coming and that's a good thing. Most of all, though, I'll always feel I have been to the moor where the novel takes place and that's worth a listen in and of itself.
Jim Teggelaar
Aug 15, 2015 Jim Teggelaar rated it liked it
Smallish, odd, creepy story. Superbly written as always with Ruth. Yes, read it, but not one of her best.
Apr 04, 2010 Beryl rated it it was amazing
Rendell is a master of the psychological thriller. This is a little gem. Try to guess the ending.
Oct 11, 2007 Jamilah rated it liked it
Psychologically disturbing and depressing. I like Ruth Rendell, though. Good writer.
Donna Beckley
Dec 05, 2015 Donna Beckley rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery-psych
One of Ruth Rendell's earlier books. It is quite short, only 200 pages. It is the story of a man whose tragedies during childhood shape his character as an adult. He remains as a child when dealing with emotional issues, such as his marriage and relationships with his father and other family members. The book has 2 story lines which intertwine. One story is about the hunt for a serial killer plaguing a small English town in the moors, and the other of the fantasies and fears of a man haunted by ...more
Aug 27, 2011 Jennifer rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
I would actually give this book 2.5 stars, if possible.

This psychological study just didn't hit any of the right notes for me. The 'mystery' was virtually non-existent, and I had figured it out well before the end. The characters, which should have been the driving force of this book, were flat and not very likable (with the exception of Lyn, whom I was rooting for throughout). And the psychology on display, including a nice Oedipus complex, was so text-book, Pysch 101 that watching it unfold w
Dec 22, 2015 Karen rated it really liked it
A well-written, suspenseful page-turner with a list of quirky characters. The overall theme of the book was dark, mysterious, and volatile, much like the moor and the man who deemed himself to be its master. I love Rendell, but feel this one fell a little flat at the end. I wanted more details about exactly what happened to the main character. Also, I think the characters could have been better developed, especially the one of Dada.
Sep 11, 2015 Rennie rated it liked it
I felt like a fish hooked by a master angler as I really can't say I enjoyed the story but I just could not put it down. Gloomy but mesmerizing and not so much a mystery to be solved by the traditional unearthing and interpreting of clues but more a matter of trying to figure out what actions,facts or believed facts led to the development of the disturbing characters and which of them did what.
Jun 02, 2014 John rated it it was ok
A very minor piece of (relatively) early Rendell. It's entertaining enough to read -- I almost upped it a star on that basis -- but it's so filled with rank implausibilities and coincidences that it was hard for me to take seriously. Also, while the characterization was in general good, I found it nigh impossible to believe in the central protagonist, who seemed to be just a caricature.
Jul 26, 2014 Juliet rated it really liked it
Yup. Read this in one fascinated sitting on the ride home from a bad day. Awesome distraction from the horrid torture of Nairobi Saturday traffic jams. Ruth Rendell crafts her stories so you don't even consider taking a break. And in this, she amazes in how she brings the story of a broken Stephen to its end. And Lyn, fortunate fortunate Lyn!
Sep 01, 2012 Carol rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery, british, fiction
This is Ruth Rendell really writing at the top of her form. Terrific psychological suspense, with character-driven plot. Main character is Stephen Whalby, who seems like a great, if a little ho-hum, guy: handsome, fit, visits his grandmother, devoted to his wife. But Rendell peels back the layers to show the less savory aspects of his character. Clearly his mother's running out on the family when he was 5 has warped him in a fundamental way. His love of the moors, which seems like an innocent an ...more
Feb 06, 2016 Debbie rated it really liked it
I watched the movie based on this book, and decided to read the book.
I found the book to be much more scary and very descriptive and it really drew me in as a reader.
This is an older book, and still worth the read.
David Zerangue
Nov 09, 2010 David Zerangue rated it liked it
Shelves: suspense
Where to start... This is a perfect airplane book. Not literary by any means. However, it does keep the reader's interest. The book is more psychological than traditional murder mystery. One of Ms. Rendell's strong points. Sadly, her main character never develops feelings in such a way as to connect with the reader. The reader certainly gets the idea but never really 'feels' the connection. Never truly feels the horror. It just reads like a case paper of sorts. Devoid of feeling. With that being ...more
Nov 13, 2014 Georgene rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
A creepy, psychological murder mystery laced with odd characters, love affairs and murders.
Linda Howe Steiger
Aug 08, 2015 Linda Howe Steiger rated it liked it
A bit weird, but not too grizzly. Who's the real master here?
Jann Barber
Aug 02, 2010 Jann Barber rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 22, 2015 Nancy rated it liked it
Dark, unsettling, early stand-alone. Glad of the way it ended, for I was fearing I'd be left very disturbed for a long time. I love Rendell's writing, but always wonder if I ever want to read another of her stand-alone novels, then I'm always caught up again when I do.
Feb 26, 2010 Carmen rated it really liked it
A moor in England. A place of desolation and loneliness, and also the place of murder For a young lady is killed and left on the moor. The prime suspect is a man who loves the moors, writes about them, and spends many waking minutes walking on them. Then a second young lady is killed. The people in the towns panic. The police investigate Stephen even more. And then a third person dies. Who is behind the killings? Loads of suspense.
Dec 22, 2012 Julie rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
This is a not-run-of-the-mill murder mystery whose main character, Stephen, begins as a rather ordinary lover of the outdoors, then transforms into something unexpectedly less-than-sane. The mystery is subtle, building gradually in suspense and artful confusion--with several clever red herrings thrown in. And the ending--it slides in so smoothly, yet with some shock value as we come to realize just how far family dysfunction can go.
Linda S.
May 12, 2010 Linda S. rated it liked it
As a fan of Ruth Rendell's books, I decided a couple of months ago to go back and read all of her books that I missed and reread those I could not remember. I had read this one about 20 years ago and didn't remember it clearly, so I read it again. It was good, but not as good as some of her others. She is always the master of psychological mysteries and this book was no exception.
Jul 10, 2013 Jay rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ruth Rendell's ability to explore the dark recesses of twisted minds is always engrossing. Her characters, flawed, complex and unusual lead the reader along unexplored paths which often end unexpectedly, and with no-where to go. The four little words Like father, like son were for me the key to the whole novel, but perhaps I am wrong.
Apr 24, 2016 Cindy rated it it was ok
The ending was a bit of a shock but there was too much mind conversation and not enough dialogue to really make it interesting for me. I learned a lot about the moors.....more than I wanted, thanks.
This is definitely a psychological murder mystery. Rendell captured the mental breakdown of Stephan Walby in a way that is haunting and horrifying while also fascinating to watch. And then, the culmination brings an entirely new level of disturbing. Such a fun read!
May 25, 2010 Lisa rated it liked it
A decent enough mystery, though not in the manner of the detective or police procedural type. More of E. A. Poe dark and sinister getting into the minds of not quite balanced folk.
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A.K.A. Barbara Vine

Ruth Barbara Rendell, Baroness Rendell of Babergh, CBE, who also wrote under the pseudonym Barbara Vine, was an acclaimed English crime writer, known for her many psychological thrillers and murder mysteries and above all for Inspector Wexford.
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