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A Demon in My View
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A Demon in My View

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  1,384 Ratings  ·  99 Reviews
She waits for him in the dark, her mind and body perfect, passive, until one day, when he goes to the cellar, and she is gone . . .

In A Demon in My View, Ruth Rendell creates a character as frightening as he is fascinating. Mild-mannered Arthur Johnson has never known how to talk to women. And his loneliness has perverted his desire for love and respect into a carefully co
Unknown Binding, 184 pages
Published May 1st 2003 by Not Avail (first published 1976)
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Dannii Elle
This is an odd book to classify. I found it to be a chilling insight into the sociopathic mind, and a startlingly haunting portrait of an individual. I also found it did not adhere to the expected layout of a crime novel, which both perturbed and intrigued me. As an in-depth character study, it is profound and exceptional. As a crime story it is unnervingly slow-paced and anticlimatic.
Late last year we were offered the library of an avid, widely read deceased uncle of a friend. He had a habit of writing angry comments at the front of the books he disliked. I can do no better on this occasion than quote him: 'Another bad one.'

I'm really surprised that this is a seventies Rendell, I thought her work from that period would read better. Have I overrated her in the past?

I do wish I could have kept the entire library of this stranger to me. Going through his books, picking one and
Aug 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Ruth Rendell's ability to create characters with true-to-life emotional depth is unparalleled. I have read a few dozen of her novels and this is one of the best.

She often writes of those mentally ill people who live on the fringes of society and get away with it for years until some error in judgment sets them down a path of no return. This gripping novel is an outstanding example of her work in that genre.

A common theme in her work is the stunted psychological development of those who are rais
Oct 25, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A portrait of a psychopath as a middle aged man. Short and yet this one packs a punch, albeit in a quaintly mild mannered British fashion. It is traditionally accepted that real estate is all about location, location, location and yet any seasonal urban dweller will tell you it's about the neighbors. This particular boarding house is no exception and when two neighbors (one new and one a resident of 20 years) share the same building and the same last name, it's bound to get ugly. Especially when ...more
Jun 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: crime, fiction
I recently read a book about a super agent who needed to save the world from a threat so terrible civilization would collapse. While reading this book I felt many emotions, chiefly annoyance, self blame and mild curiosity on how such stupidity could continue. I never felt an iota of dread in any of the 700 plus pages. "A Demon in My View" conjures up dread in that most drab of settings, a late 1960s london boarding house, from the very first page. The villain starts as a creepy caricature to be ...more
Jan 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
Was a grim appearing psychological mystery told in languid terms. Listened to the audio book which enhanced my morning walks. Loved listening to the varying cadences voice.
Arthur Johnson is a stodgy old anal retentive who has had a dismal childhood living with his rigid spinster aunt.
Anthony Johnson is a handsome young student of psychology writing his thesis on psychopaths and is in love with Helen, a married lady, who he urges to elope with him, but she is dithering.
Both come to occupy t
Jan 03, 2011 rated it really liked it
I’m re-reading A DEMON IN MY VIEW, one of the most highly-regarded novel from Ruth Rendell’s ‘early’ period (in this case, 1976 – it was her 14th novel and 6th stand-alone – as we know, she doesn’t have much good to say about the stand-alones that preceded it, but she hit her stride with DEMON and has never regressed) – she received her first CWA Gold Dagger for it. Even at this stage RR was quite adept at something she will do in all subsequent ‘phases’ of her career, up to and including her la ...more
aPriL does feral sometimes
Arthur Johnson is peculiar. He keeps to himself in his apartment, which he keeps meticulously cleaned, scrubbing the surfaces down daily. His day is an unchanging schedule. He describes his job as a surveyor, but he's actually an office manager for Grainger's, Contractors and Builders' Merchants. He carries an empty briefcase because he feels it adds respectability to his power suit. "For him, as for everyone, he had no particular feeling most of the time. He wished only to be esteemed, to keep ...more
Mitch McCrimmon
Feb 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing
One of my favourite Ruth Rendell novels. This is one of her "standalone" novels, as opposed to the Inspector Wexford Series. I have read more than a dozen of her standalone novels since early 2013. I enjoyed them all so much that it is hard to pick a favourite. The standalone novels seem to have more depth than the Wexford detective stories; they are deeper character studies, but their real beauty is the great sense of humour, very much like Monty Python. For example, the main protagonist in "A ...more
Graham Seager
Feb 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: five-stars
This, without doubt is my favourite Rendell novel. She rightly won the Gold Dagger Award in 1976 for this wonderful story.

(view spoiler)

One of the most e
David (דוד)
3.5 Stars

Having read Ms. Rendell's two short story collections earlier, which were good, I decided to read a standalone book. And it was satisfying. This one was based on a psychopath. Being not an Inspector Wexford novel, I liked it. Am sort of tired with reading 'Inspector' detective stories, for now.

A decent fast-read. Quick and not too long. Not too many characters either. Not much of a mystery. But a good crime novel; good for passing time. Nothing much contemplative, excepting about trying
May 25, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This is my favorite work of Rendell's (probably her shortest book as well). She creates a very creepy portrayal of the main protagonist Arthur Johnson, who has more than a few skeletons in his closet. If you are looking for a quick and thrilling read, this comes highly recommended.
An award winner back in 1976, I found this to be a very satisfying though disturbing tale of psychological suspense. The narrative flow was excellent and kept the tension level high, the characterizations were spot on, and I especially liked that it was not graphically violent.
Mar 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2017
The usual good psychological fare from Rendell, plenty of misunderstandings between people & assumptions being made leading to tragic conclusions.

Arthur Johnson has a dark secret & the arrival of Anthony Johnson to the same set of flats turns him paranoid...two A Johnsons in one house was never going to be without its mixups & this being a Rendell novel of course it leads to a mixup of tragic consequences.

An entertaining read, same as all the others but hey, thats why I enjoy tbem :
Jan 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
My first foray into Ruth Rendell. Now I get what all the fuss is about! Classic suspense novel, well plotted and a quick, exciting read.
Já li livros bem melhores desta autora.

O livro é um crescendo de sentimentos e circunstâncias que levam à origem de um psicopata.
Tal e qual um vulcão adormecido que, a nós até parece que entrou em erupção de forma repentina e efusiva demais, um psicopata é gerado, nutrido e formado de forma lenta e "bem" direcionada. Com este livro, penso que a autora quis mostrar que um assassino não surge como se de um cogumelo se tratasse. Alguém ou vários alguéns são os verdadeiros culpados da criação de um
DeAnna Knippling
Dec 31, 2016 rated it really liked it
This may be a five star that I can't appreciate yet. The ending has left me a bit disjointed.

Ruth Rendell always leaves me disturbed. Actual suspense, actual dread, actual horror. This one felt--too short? It relied too heavily on coincidence in multiple places, and there were more scenes I wanted to see, but...I might just be too inured to ordinary plots to fully appreciate this yet. I'm just kind of going, "Wait, what?" at this point, though. Dissatisfying? Or just unexpected?
May 06, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: couldn-t-finish
Ruth Rendell is considered a great crime and mystery writer and this was the first of her books that I read.

The plot line really excited me and I thought it sounded just like something I would enjoy, I was disappointed though. The plot, though clever was very strange and the ending too unrealistic and not climatic.
Paul Christensen
May 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
Grim London psychological crime novel, nevertheless has a lot of subtle ironic humour, and very funny ending.

Greybeard by Paul Christensen
Jim Bailey
Aug 09, 2009 rated it liked it
Starts out very slowly. Finely gathers a little steam. Ironic twist at end. My overall feeling after reading the book was disappointment. Not that great.
Donna Barnes
Nov 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is my 3rd Ruth Rendell book, and I must say I enjoyed it. Once again, we know who the murderer is almost right away, but it's how he/she is discovered (don't want to give anything away), is the through line in the book. Again, this is a book club author we are studying and again I chose a book that was made into a film --- it was by the same title with Anthony Perkins (of Psycho fame) as Arthur Johnson in the book. Because the two main characters have the same last name and same initial for ...more
Oct 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
Read this just for some enjoyment between Dickens books. However, although Rendell is an excellent writer and my favorite mystery author, I find that Dickens has spoiled me. He is not just excellent, he is a great writer, and I found that I had trouble sticking with this.

My difficulties did not stem from this book, however, which is well plotted, as always, and has the psychological insights that we expect from Rendell. As we watch the killer from his own point of view we see how sick he is, and
Dec 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
A rather curious little book from Rendell, that is really intriguing. I find Rendell rather hard to classify as a writer. Her books are so different, that at times it feels like somebody needs to invent a entirely new genre strictly for her and then stick most of her books in this new classification. Are they mysteries? thrillers? psychological? just plain nutty? What an interesting woman she must have been. The next time I am at a dinner party and they ask who would I want to be stuck on a dese ...more
Alfonso escamilla
Apr 17, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
un libro que se divide en dos partes, la primera aburridisima, tediosa y lenta, apunto estuve de abandonar la lectura, y la segunda mitad muy enganchadora, atrapante y un final que me encanto, lo que mas me encanto que puede parecer una novela policiaca pero nunca llega a ese punto, lo cual es genial porque hay muchos otros aspectos como el romance principalmente que se llevan gran parte d ela obra, lastima la primera mitad que es demasiado descriptiva, adentra en personajes que no contribuyen p ...more
Jun 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Arthur Johnson is a psychopath who symbolically, kills and kills again. He is anti-social, a racist, a neat freak, and a prude. When his avatar victim disappears, all hell breaks loose, as now he will now express his urges differently. Well written, scary and disturbing.
Mary Greiner
May 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Ruth Rendell never disappoints. This novel is one of her older ones, the plot wouldn't work with cell phones, texting, Facebook, etc. The miscommunication between lovers, however, is still very possible, even with the latest in technology. The bad guy is wonderfully creepy. Enjoyed this one!
Simona Moschini
Breve ma solido e ben gestito, è un noir psicologico, squisitamente rendelliano, così zeppo di coincidenze e humour macabro da sembrare quasi cronaca.
Pamela Hale
May 20, 2018 rated it liked it
Ruth Rendall is awesome!
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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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