Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Tigerlily's Orchids” as Want to Read:
Tigerlily's Orchids
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Tigerlily's Orchids

3.29  ·  Rating Details ·  1,722 Ratings  ·  297 Reviews

Is it dangerous to know too much about your neighbors?

When Stuart Font throws a housewarming party, he invites all the residents of his new building—among them, three flippant young girls, a lonely spinster, a man with a passion for classical history, and a woman determined to drink herself to death. He definitely
Paperback, 257 pages
Published March 13th 2012 by Scribner (first published 2010)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Tigerlily's Orchids, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Tigerlily's Orchids

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Mar 18, 2012 Teresa rated it liked it
Rendell uses one of her tried-and-true formulas here, which to her credit never seems formulaic: Throw a group of disparate individuals, each with various obsessions, even psychoses, together, in a house, an apartment building, the same street or neighborhood, and see what happens. She knows how to handle a large cast of characters effectively, though here I think there was at least one couple too many.

I didn't find this one of her best, though it's not one of her worst either. (Except for the
Gail Cooke
Jun 26, 2011 Gail Cooke rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

As Newsday said re this author’s novel Portobello, “Rendell has long been the queen of the psychological crime.....A novel that glides along Portobello Road like the lime in a gin and tonic. It’s intoxicating.” So true! I’ll admit my bias up front - I’ve long been a fan of Rendell and when she releases a new book it tops my reading list. She’s never disappointed me and that certainly holds true of TIGER LILY’S ORCHIDS.

As always we’re treated to intriguing characters whom we follow with rapt a
Rendell, Ruth. TIGERLILY’S ORCHIDS. (2011). **.
This is not truly a novel; don’t be fooled by the notice on the jacket front. It is the collected stories of the tenants of a coop in London that has six flats in it. They are either rented or purchased outright by the tenants. We get to follow the six individuals, or groups, through a relatively short period of time, and wonder why we continue reading. There is no main plot, per se. Most of the tenants are stereotyped, but even these are pushed to
Susan Johnson
Jul 24, 2011 Susan Johnson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love Ruth Rendell and her books. Her last several have been a little off the mark but this is a terrific one. It is a mystery. Who killed a handsome tenant? But it really isn't. It's about the occupants of a flat in London and a neighbor across the street who spies on them and gets everything so wrong. It's like a "Corduroy Mansions" by Alexander McCall Smith with better writing and more sharply drawn characters. These people are far from perfect and that's what makes them so interesting. I co ...more
Sep 12, 2012 F.R. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
At first I wasn’t overly convinced by this Ruth Rendell novel. It creates its own little world, focusing as it does on the middle class residents of a block of flats (and some of the people who live in the surrounding houses), but my initial impression was that this was just a slight collection of short stories interweaved together. There’s the good looking young man having an affair with a married woman; a Latin scholar who has a connection with his new age neighbour; a trio of student girls sh ...more
Jul 21, 2011 Nicholas rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Oh, how I adore Ruth Rendell. And the RR I love is back. There's no one quite like Rendell at observing the way that people think about themselves, particularly when they are vain or self-satisfied or totally delusional or just very lucid about their place in the world. She does plenty of it in this novel that chronicles the lives of a bunch of residents of a London apartment building. One of them, of course, is murdered by the time it's all done (the particularly beautiful one; I think RR has i ...more
Sep 21, 2011 Barbara rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Barbara by: BOSTON GLOBE BOOK REVIEW
Shelves: mystery
Although I recently read another book by this author, the library notified me that I should pick up my copy of this, her latest book. I'm always pleased to read Rendell!

Despite my previous statement and my fondness for her books, this was not one of Rendell's best efforts. There was an interesting, unusual collection of characters, but the story did not sustain my interest. Perhaps it's my current mood.
I was disappointed and surprised by this book. Surprised because it is written by such an accomplished author who has a wealth of awards for her writing and is well known for her elegant prose, intricate plots and insights into the human mind - particularly when it comes to the socially isolated and disadvantaged. Disappointed because I found Tigerlily's Orchids somewhat lacklustre and I hate to say this, a bit boring. Apart from a handful of characters, notably Olwen, I found it hard to picture ...more
Shirley Schwartz
May 15, 2011 Shirley Schwartz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was not quite as good as I've come to expect from all her other books, but any Ruth Rendell book is head and shoulders over a lot of other authors that write in her genre. Ms. Rendell has a unique writing style that pulls the reader in, quite seductively, into a world of unimaginable horror. I found this book did not have the same menace as most of her other books, and the sense of danger just wasn't there as much. But her characters are wonderfully drawn and realistic. Her setting is ...more
Aug 10, 2010 Philip rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had the privilege of learning the title of this book from Ruth Rendell herself when I met her in November 2009, shortly after she finished it and months before her publisher officially announced it. Two days short of nine months later it's in my hands, one of the first copies to be received in the U.S. from England (love those pre-order prices at Book Depository, and no shipping charges, even on Transatlantic purchases!)

Fifty pages in, I can tell you that's it's the typical Rendellian mixture
Gloria Feit
Oct 24, 2011 Gloria Feit rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ruth Rendell novels are a study in human relationships, and this book is no exception. It takes a look at an assortment of tenants living in an apartment house block in London, particularly one building, but also a couple of homes across the way.

An inordinate amount of space is devoted to one tenant, a young, handsome youth, Stuart Font, who recently inherited some money and bought his apartment. He decides to have a housewarming and invite all the other tenants. His married lover forces him to
Doug Beatty
Jun 20, 2011 Doug Beatty rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this one! I thought originally that it was following a formula that Ruth Rendell sometimes follows, with all the dysfunctional people trapped together in one setting. But then, the story grabbed me and did not let go. It is not a long novel, only 257 pages, so it is easily readable in a short span of time.

It is the story of the residents of Lichfield house, all of them with various problems. Stuart Font is extremely good looking and extremely vain and is ha
Jan 22, 2012 K L rated it it was amazing
Ruth Rendell is getting less dark and edgy - but no less good. This story follows the inhabitants of an apartment house in London. The "Tigerlily" of the title is one of the people who live across the street, and there's a surprise in their house. I was actually disappointed that the surprise wasn't something worse. There's an oddly innocent couple of leftover hippies; three college girls who are fairly typical of girls that age (hey, I was one once, I should know); a good-looking guy with a big ...more
Kasey Jueds
Jul 27, 2011 Kasey Jueds rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Grace
Shelves: fiction, mystery
It's hard to find words for the absolute amazingness of Ruth Rendell, one of my all-time favorite authors. I hope she lives forever, and continues to write books, so that I can continue to read them. Like so many of her other novels, Tigerlily's Orchids isn't a traditional murder mystery, though it does contain a murder, as well as several mysteries. And like all of her books, this one is full of deeply believable, though not always likeable, characters, who are quirky, sometimes bizarrely so, b ...more
This is not a classic mystery; the first body appears in the second half of the book and there is no detective. This novel weaves together psychological portraits of several people, all neighbours in a London suburb: a young, non-practising doctor who writes poorly researched medical articles, a reclusive woman who is determined to drink herself to death, an apartment caretaker who spends his free time near schoolyards, a narcissistic "pretty boy" carrying on an adulterous affair, two former hip ...more
Cara Cooper
I enjoyed this, was delighted to pick it up at the airport on my way to a holiday with no internet access in a remote house in the Costa Brava hills. With hours and hours of uninterrupted reading time, I ploughed through it. It wasn't however her best, not quite as atmospheric or with as dark characters as some of Ruth Rendell's other books, hence the three star rating. I found, for example, the Keys to the Street to have far more of a sense of place. Also, I guessed pretty early on what Tigerli ...more
Jul 03, 2011 Dagný rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very enjoyable read; the perfect mixture of bitter and sweet by the master brewer Ruth Rendell. The text is laced with irony, one smirks and flinches simultaneously.Ugh, and her brews are lethal.
The plot moves swiftly between inhabitants of a small London apartment building and their neighbors. We observe these people as they experience themselves and each others, or imagine the others; love, desire, ignore, fear and hate each other.....or themselves.
All the while we might glimpse reflections o
May 29, 2013 Louise rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 13, 2010 Meera rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love Ruth Rendell and this is another of her psychological thrillers (although a murder also occurs). I really didn't want it to end - I got totally wrapped up in the characters she describes, all of whom live in the same apartment block in a North London suburb. Her attention to detail is really impressive and she gets inside characters' heads in a quite spooky way.
Sep 03, 2010 Yellowoasis rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010, audible
Disappointing, not up to her usual form. I wish she could return to the superb standards of the early Barbara Vine novels. This left me feeling unsatisfied, with the characters and the plotting. I didn't really like any of the people in the book, did not find them either compelling or believable, and consequently did not care much what happened to them. What a shame.
Nov 28, 2011 Kate rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ruth Rendell is a master at wrapping up a mystery in a bunch of characters. It's particularly satisfying, as there are some incredible louts and jerks, a couple of lovely people, and a few with faults like you and me. The lives are wonderfully intertwined and give the condo building in which they live its own personality.
Nov 02, 2011 Rosemary rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is slow-moving, without a great deal of tension, and the mystery is secondary to the interactions between the characters, but I really enjoyed it all the same. (view spoiler)
Nele Fraeyman
Jan 13, 2016 Nele Fraeyman rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Gewoon vreselijk saai...
Jul 05, 2011 Rick rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another compelling masterpiece of psychological horror from one of my all-time favorite authors.
Apr 13, 2013 Chris rated it it was amazing
A rather different mystery - more about the mystery of people than anything else. In some ways a typical Rendell, but in some ways a little different.

Oct 13, 2014 Randee rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, audible
Ruth Rendell is like having a cup of one's favorite tea. This 'cup' is a bit on the tepid side, but it is still reliable and you always count on what is being delivered.
Mar 20, 2017 Colleen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
The apartment building plus the houses across the street are like a miniature English village. The residents don't actually know each other but they see each other often enough to imagine they do. Several are retired, several are young - 3 college age girls, and Stuart who quit his job to take a year off after graduation. Stuart decides to throw a party to celebrate buying his flat and invites everyone, even the old lady (Olwen) living on the dole who is busy trying to drink herself to death. Yo ...more
Mar 06, 2017 Mary rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime
Nine people with flats in a building in NE London. Each unique, amusing and interesting. Characters psychologies were well worked out. Reminded me of Archway in London where we used to live.
Carole Tyrrell
In this novel, Ruth Rendell, introduces us to the residents of a swish new apartment block in Islington. An interesting device as they collide and briefly connect with each other without ever really getting to know them.
Foppish, vain Stuart Font and his married lover, Claudie, Marius Potter and Rose Preston-Jones ,Dr and Mrs Constantine, Olwen, the 3 young female flat sharers, a doctor writing dodgy medical columns for newspapers and the surly and very unpleasant caretaker Wally Scurlock. We be
Apr 06, 2011 J. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: safecrackers
You get the feeling that this was a kind of memory excercise for Rendell-- there are upwards of twenty characters, at least a dozen of which are major ... Or at least, maybe something to toss off between a crossword puzzle and brunch on a summer's morning... (maybe that's because there are so many cups of coffee, constantly being served, offered or consumed; actually, there are numerous drinks of all kinds, from cups of hot chocolate to straight-from-the-bottle gin, in constant circulation here. ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Birthday Present
  • Cloudland
  • The Jewel That Was Ours (Inspector Morse, #9)
  • The Black Cat (Richard Jury, #22)
  • Among the Missing
  • The Malcontenta (Brock & Kolla, #2)
  • A Death in Summer (Quirke #4)
  • Bleed a River Deep (Inspector Devlin, #3)
  • Death of a Unicorn
  • Grave Consequences (An Emma Fielding Mystery #2)
  • Angel with Two Faces (Josephine Tey, #2)
  • Haiti Noir
  • Caedmon's Song
  • The Cry of the Owl
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.
More about Ruth Rendell...

Share This Book