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The Copper Peacock and Other Stories

3.63  ·  Rating details ·  351 Ratings  ·  35 Reviews
Here, from top international mystery writer Ruth Rendell, are nine new stories--one starring the astute Inspector Wexford--that turn a microscope on the tortuous pathways of the human mind and the merciless twists of fate.

Poetic justice overtakes a cocksure young thief from the public library... a dying man's wife exacts a subtle revenge when he begs to see his long-lost m

Hardcover, 183 pages
Published December 12th 1991 by Mysterious Press (first published January 1st 1980)
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Kasey Jueds
Oct 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Hard to think of anything about the amazing and incredible Ruth Rendell that I haven't already written before. I love her, she's a genius, I hope she lives forever, etc. These stories are dark and smart and completely compelling--in part because Rendell is such an incredible stylist, and in part because she has such a profound and often startling understanding of human nature. I especially noticed, in this book, her skill with unattractive narrators. The one in the title story is a great example ...more
michael spencer
Jul 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Rendell is a master of her craft, and The Copper Peacock is congruent with such aptitude. The only complaint might be the seemingly inverse relationship of length to predictability; nevertheless, the prose flows effortlessly to both sneakily coax English sensibility and reward those who trust their instincts.
Sharon Mensing
Jun 06, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was short stories, not my favorite, but well executed by Rendell. The stories were each somewhat ironic and I found the twists very interesting. The people in these stories were not terribly sympathetic, but were well drawn given the short story format.
Laila (BigReadingLife)
3.5 stars.

Rendell is a master of the short story - especially unsettling ones. The one about the cat lady, Long Live the Queen, is one of the creepiest short stories I've ever read. And I like cats.
Jul 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Good stories, especially the title one.
I haven't read short stories in a while. She really is staying away from tidying up all the loose ends in this one. More like "choose your own ending." Like life, I suppose.
Dec 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: wcls
Rendell packs a lot into a short story. Minimal pages, maximum impact.
Jan 12, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crimethriller
A good collection of short stories.
I enjoyed rereading these. Not as enthralling as her novels, though.
Jun 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed reading this book as I did with the other Ruth Rendell books. The Copper Peacock and Other Stories is a short-story collection by Ruth Rendell. The title comes from the 6th story in the collection, in which a copper bookmark in the form of a peacock is gift from a cleaner to her employer, the giving of which has significant ramifications for their relationship. The final story in the collection features her popular series Inspector Reg Wexford.

The collection contains nine stori
Cameron Trost
Mar 17, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery-suspense
A decent collection of short stories examining psychology, society, and crime. However, being used to Ruth Rendell's exceptionally high standard, I wasn't overly impressed. These are by no means her most original or well-written stories. For the uninitiated, I'd recommend starting with her collections, The Fallen Curtain, Blood Lines, and Piranha to Scurfy.
Nick Phillips
Sep 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not so much as whodunit as a series of tales of the unexpected. Crimes are mostly (though not entirely) questions of moral ambiguity and few perpetrators receive their comeuppance.

A great set of short stories and highly recommended.
Jan 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nine charming and skillful short stories, greatly recommended.
Having read all of Ruth Rendell’s “Inspector Wexford” mysteries, I’m always excited when the familiar characters show up in one of her short stories, which they do here in “An Unwanted Woman.” Mike Burden’s wife Jenny has a friend, Hilary, with a problem – her teenaged daughter has moved out – on the heels of Hilary’s recent remarriage – and moved in with an elderly neighbor whom she had befriended. It isn’t really a matter for the police, but the circumstances are troubling, and worsening. Ther ...more
Jul 11, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found this in a used bookstore, not having realized that it existed and I hadn't already read it everything that Rendell had written (so far). It's about ten short stories, less mysteries than just creepy vignettes of people either doing or about to do evil deeds. That's where I think Rendell is so successful, at showing the series of choices that lead up to an average, everyday person choosing to do something truly horrifying. She makes murder seem humdrum in a way that manages to be relatabl ...more
Lorna Francis
In these short stories Rendell shows her great ability to create memoravble characters from mad cat loving women to condescending writers who irk the reader.  I found this particular collection of nine stories mostly predictable, unsettling and the ending of some left open ended.  I am currently discouraged in reading further novels by this author.  However if you were a fan of the eighties show Tales of The Unexpected   
I am sure you will enjoy these stories.  
Sep 02, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Copper Peacock and Other Stories
by Ruth Rendell
There are nine Stories in this book . I must say that I enjoyed reading them . But it would not be a book I would get again . The stories are all a bit dark . If you are like me you enjoy darker books . I found a few of the books a it sad , and all have to do with death one way or anther . So if your looking for a quick read , that is a bit on the darker side . I think you would enjoy this one .
Jan 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ruth Rendell is one of my favorite authors. Stories from this collection compose of different themes, from the clever happy tone, the mischievous, from the moving and to the shocking. The title story, about a writer's snobbish attitude toward a cleaning-woman, shifts awkwardly from subtle insight to unconvincing melodrama.
Jul 22, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Typically, I didn't love all of the short stories, but I liked them all. I particularly liked Long Live the Queen (an interesting take on the "cat lady") and An Unwanted Woman.

Audio Review: It was expertly read by actress Penelope Keith.
Kristal Cooper
Feb 25, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The audiobook format failed me on this one. The big twist at the end of each story must have been a little reference back to some detail I missed while I was paying more attention to traffic than the narrator.
Marina Kahn
Nov 01, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Various short eerie stories. I actually got the audio book and it was very pleasant to listen to. The saddest story was the one about the Copper Peacock and the funniest was the one about the Cat Queen. Easy and enjoyable.
Feb 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An engaging collection of darkly-humored stories that reflect the author's quirky understanding of human nature!
May 12, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nice collection of short stories with a psychological twist.
The best were Mother's Help and An Unwanted Woman.
Mar 04, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: to-be-edited
This is a great collection of suspense short stories from one of my favorite contemporary British authors, Ruth Rendell.
Aug 26, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2016
Arrogant men. Insipid, hand-wringing women. The first story, A Pair of Yellow Lillies, was alright but, as a whole, these stories haven't aged at all well.
Jan 03, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, stories
Not her strongest collection, but still solid and a few of them-- A Pair of Yellow Lilies, Paperwork and The Fish-Sitter-- were excellent.
John Toffee
Hit & Miss collection of short stories.
An excellent collection of short stories read by Donada Peters. I've listened to several read by Ms. Peters and this is, for me, easily her best performance I've so far encountered.
Gowri N.
Jul 06, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm a fan of short story anthologies. This read like an old world Jeffrey Archer collection. Some stories were particularly good, while some were unremarkable.
Overall, a good short read.
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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.
More about Ruth Rendell...