Kellie's Reviews > The Minotaur

The Minotaur by Barbara Vine
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Sep 20, 08

bookshelves: 2007-reads, mystery-thrillers, bookclub-books

** spoiler alert ** Barbara Vine is the pen name of Ruth Rendell. This was a very interesting book. It takes place in a small country village in England back in the 60’s. The narrator is Kerstin (pronounced Shastan in Swedish). She takes a caretaking job at a house called Lydstep Old Hall. It is a large house totally covered by vines. Kerstin is to help take care of the son of the family, John, who supposedly has schizophrenia. The mother and 3 daughters live in the house as well. The family is on the extreme side of dysfunctional. John is the sole heir to the family fortune. Kerstin suspects he is being drugged by the mother so that she and her daughters can live in the house and stay in control of the family affairs. The mother makes “Mommie Dearest” look good. Kerstin finds out the family doctor is actually Mrs. Cosway’s lover. And she suspects Zorah, one of the daughters, is their daughter. The Doctor is the one who provides the drugs Mrs. Cosway feeds John. When he dies, and John comes off the drug, Kerstin realizes he was terribly misdiagnosed. More like autism than madness. The daughters, Ella, Winnifred, Ira and Zorah all have their own idiosyncrasies. Ella falls in love with a local artist who is like the town tramp and really could care less about her. Winnifred is engages to the local minister but his having sex with the artist on the side. Ida is more like the family cook than a daughter. Zorah, who doesn’t live with the family, has her own fortune and waves it in front of her sisters and mother like a carrot. The question that I pondered thru out the book was why Kerstin stayed with this family as long as she did. The mother was extremely hateful and it was obvious John didn’t need her. It is almost like she stuck around to see what the family would do next. There was a lot of foreshadowing where she set the scene for the final climax towards the end. I think a little too much. The anticipation was killing me and there were parts that dragged a little. All in all, this book was suspenseful and definitely kept my interest. It was a unique story line and I was satisfied with the resolution at the end. The good ones survived and seemed to live better lives, the bad ones got their comeuppance.
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