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
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
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
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
Gerald Candless, a semi reclusive author who lives in a cliff top house near the misty sea coast of Devon dies of a cardiac arrest. His doting daughters are asked by His publisher to write his biography, and the elder one agrees. This decision opens up a Pandora's box and she finds that everything was a lie.
The ever suffering neglected wife and mother ekes out a life for herself and the daughters try to deal with their own demons as best as they could ...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
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
The characters are finely drawn, Sarah the older daughter, who's writing the memoir, Hope the younger daughter, an ...more
I was really fascinated at the beginning of the book, and w ...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
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
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
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
A famous author dies. One of his two beautiful and much loved (by her father) daughter starts to write a biography. The man they thought was their father had a mysterious past, who broke away from his mother and siblings after an "incident".
His wife was treated poorly by both her husband and daughters. He married her simply to have children. Sh ...more
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 ...more