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Das Geburtstagsgeschenk

3.35  ·  Rating details ·  1,339 Ratings  ·  204 Reviews
Ivor Tesham, ein Machtmensch, Draufgänger und Politiker, macht seiner anderweitig verheirateten Geliebten zum achtundzwanzigsten Geburtstag ein riskantes Überraschungsgeschenk. Ein Geschenk, das seine Karriere und sein Leben zu zerstören droht.
Paperback, 384 pages
Published November 23rd 2010 by Diogenes (first published 2008)
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Nov 01, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Barbara by: Teresa
Shelves: mystery
It was difficult to give Barbara Vine a three star rating, but if 5 stars means a magnificent book and 4 is still excellent, then there it must be. Still, in comparison to other novelists who earn this rating, she still outshines many others in her technique and her storytelling.

The Birthday Present demonstrates how people frequently err in their decision making. Often it is because they arrived at their conclusions for the wrong reasons, or simply because they have failed to consider the implic
Mar 22, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Yes
The same event from two different viewpoints. No gore, no who-done-it, but lots of creepy slides into craziness, and plenty of sleazy politicians. Having read the Minotaur, I would say this is almost as good as, but not quite. Still, the tension Vine builds in this book is undeniable. Read it!
Oct 16, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This was my first Barbra Vine read, my first Ruth Rendell read for that matter, and I was really disappointed.

Her name is one I have heard many times when seeking out psychological thrillers to read. She just seems to be one of those authors whose name will appear whenever on a hunt. Thus, when I found a three book Barbra Vine collection on offer I jumped at them. I wasn’t crazy about any one book in particular, thus I was content with three random ones, and I allowed my sister to decide which o
May 06, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Even before we get into the psychological-thriller aspect, this is a wonderful depiction of the sense of entitlement and the distance from ordinary human beings epiromized by those Tory parliamentary politicians who featured in the later years of the Thatcher/Major administration. (It's especially relevant right now when a government with much the same attitude is fighting for its political life in the UK.) At least in terms of public awareness, the late-Thatcher era was one unparalleled for pol ...more
Oct 04, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked this one - really catchy, although it drag a bit in the middle. The characters in this book, while not lovable, aren't the awful set (eg like in the Chimney Sweeps Boy for example). That said, she writes horrible & unlikeable characters beautifully. Jane Atherton is so well written, completely awful & we go right inside her head as she grows madder. Ivor Tresham is a philandering MP in the Thatcher Government. He has an affair with a bored young housewife, Hebe Furnal. For her bi ...more
Mardel Fehrenbach
Nov 07, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not my favorite of Barbara Vine's books, its odd detached style reminded me more of the author's voice in her more popular mystery guise as Ruth Rendell. Now I like Vine's novels and I enjoy Rendell although in a completely different way. Truthfully, it took me a little to accept this new novel as it is a bit of a departure from the author's previous novels under either name. I suppose it is a bit of a disappointment if one is expecting a typical Barbara Vine book, or even a Ruth Rendell and yet ...more
Nov 23, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
If Crime and Punishment and Murder, She Wrote had a love child with major developmental problems due to fetal alcohol syndrome or similar, it might look a lot like this book. Except this book also employs the device of starting from the end and gradually revealing how everything happened, because the story would be too boring told in order. Even as it was, it really dragged.

Meanwhile, the attempt at a conversational tone is awkward, sometimes even painful (ex. I don't want to talk about politics
Sep 06, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was just okay, not nearly as compelling or well-written as most of the Vine novels are, but not bad either -- a good book to read when your mind is tired (as mine has been). There are the usual Vine elements, such as the discontented, lonely character (who in this book is one of the two narrators) living on the fringes of society, but I questioned the choice of the other (main) narrator -- his voice didn't always work for me.
Apr 09, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I didn't really care for this book. For some unknown reason, it began to annoy me. The "alibi" girl was a doormat and the mistress was just too, too "beautiful." I finished it, but wasn't impressed.
Sep 08, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of Gone Girl
Recommended to Lance by: Mr. Beer
"'When a politician becomes 'the story' he's no longer any use to politics.'"

The psychological thriller has always been popular but has reached a kind of mass readership frenzy with the success of books like Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train in recent years. Unreliable narrators, partially revelations, and a heady atmosphere of distrust escalating the facts are a potent combination for modern readers, something that Ruth Rendell, here writing as Barbra Vine, has been perfecting for years.
Listened to in audio format.

I am surprised The Birthday Present was written by Ruth Rendell under her pen name Barbara Vine. This book was well written but it was neither suspenseful or thrilling.

The book was set during the early 1990's before Margaret Thatcher resigned and John Major was prime minister. During that time there were a number of Tory party scandals and the phrase Tory Sleaze was invented.

Tory MP Igor Tesham was having an affair with married mother of one Hebe Furnell. Igor and Heb
Bree T
Aug 10, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, mystery
Basically this book is about a Tory MP, Ivan Tesham – rich, well to do, ambitious, single. He meets a housewife, Hebe Furnell at something or other and they embark upon an affair as both share the same sexual…tastes. For her birthday, Ivan arranges her to be snatched from a sidewalk, blindfolded, tied up and delivered to him in a secret location. Exciting! But it all goes oh so terribly wrong.

The book isn’t told from Ivan’s point of view, nor from Hebe’s. Instead it alternates (with no real clea
Judy Mann
Jan 30, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Okay. This is it for me and Ruth Rendell-also known as Barbara Vine. In this book- The Birthday Present-she has made so many glaring mistakes in her writing that I am really starting to wonder if her editors don't correct errors because they are just too scared of her-
For instance, in this book she refers to a debt that amounted to "one thousand million" pounds. ???
I'm sorry but does Ruth Rendell have access to Google? Can she deduce that one thousand million equals one billion?? I mean look it
Kathryn Bashaar
Apr 20, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I always heard Barbara Vine was a good writer and she certainly has a lot of books published. The premise of this book sounded intriguing, so I decided to give her a try. She has a great premise: a Member of Parliament is having an affair with a married woman, and they are into "adventure sex." As a birthday surprise, he decides to arrange a staged "kidnapping" where she will be grabbed off the street, bound and gagged and delivered to him to do what he will with her. The adventure goes terribly ...more
Mar 22, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Ummm, contrary to the editorial review, Ivor never receives an anonymous letter about the botched kidnapping. It is safe to assume that he fears this the whole time from the accident to the end of the book, but he never becomes the victim of an anonymous letter.
The story is told from two different viewpoints. Ivor's Brother-in Law, married to Ivor's sister Iris, and Jane Atherton,the alibi that Hebe uses for her trysts with Ivor.
It is clear from the outset that Jane Atherton is a sad, plain, lo
Apr 07, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Like all of Vine's novels, it is about guilt and its consequences, about repressed emotions and suppressed truths, about the insidious appearance of madness in ordinary life, about twisted sex among the upper classes. And about politics, and how all of the above impinge on politics. A horny MP tries to set up a wild night of sex as a birthday present for his mistress--he has her "kidnapped" by confederates, to be brought to him bound and gagged, so much fun can ensue. But as a result of a fatal ...more
Feb 04, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thrillers-crime
I quite enjoyed this, despite it being a little different to what I think of as Vine's usual style. In fact, in its slightly detached storytelling it reminded me of Vine's work as Ruth Rendell, in her non-Wexford novels. It's very much a novel of a time, and of the political scenery of that time, as well as a story about Ivor, a young conservative MP, and his affair with glamorous housewife Hebe. Things go awry after Ivor arranges a faux kidnapping for Hebe's birthday, and spiral downwards from ...more
I don't think this is one of Vine's best. The plot revolves around an MP's affair with a married woman, which turns from a potential sex scandal into something much larger when the woman is killed in a car crash during a faux kidnapping set up by the MP. Vine slowly unravels the wealth of complications caused by the kidnapping gone wrong, but there's less tension than in her best books, and the end is simply anticlimactic.
Eva Mitnick
Not her best but still readable. The pathetic Jane Atherton type is one that Vine/Rendell has employed before; a person with no social skills and no personality, for whom you'd feel sorry if she had a single redeeming quality. In general, the characters lacked complexity and were all fairly unlikable - but Vine does manage to keep things fizzing along regardless.
Dec 14, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I was so disappointed with this book. I discovered Barbara Vine about 15 years ago and she became my favourite author. I can't read Ruth Rendell books, but when she writes as Barbara Vine she's fantastic. Until now, that is...the story was boring, the narrators' voices irritating, and the thrill of the thriller just wasn't there.
Marianne Stehr
Jun 02, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This was horrible. I couldn't get past the first couple pages it just rambled and the characters meshed together. I never read this author before and I don't see myself picking up another one of her anytime soon.
One of Barbara Vine's why-didn't-someone-just-tell-the-truth knotted stories. It's an interesting premise, as usual, but I'd have to say the end was disappointing.
Ruth Rendell is one of my favorite writers and the books in her Barbara Vine genre are generally truly compelling; this one, not so much.
Dec 05, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: borrowed
I am attempting to read themed books at certain times of the year. As it was my birthday when I finished my previous book I decided to read this.

Whilst the plot for the novel was very clever idea, about a pretend kidnap that had some very unfortunate events. The actions, happenings and consequences that followed this involving the friends, family and acquaintances of the pretend kidnap victim.

I found the plot abit slow moving and the volume of political information distracted from the flow of s
Jun 18, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was fine, but I was able to put it down without obsessing over reading more. Not bad, not fab, but good.
Sep 02, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Quick, satisfying read.
Nov 01, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great suspense writer!
Joyce Obrien
Aug 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Yes I am trying to read the entire Ruth Rendell oeuvre. Wish me luck. Her characterisations are intriguing.
Nov 29, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
“When we say we’re sure, we mean we doubt but we’re hopeful.” I am sure you will find this book satisfactory.
The Birthday Present

My main comment regarding this book by a woman whose work I have liked enormously for many many years both as Barbara Vine and as Ruth Randell is,"Meh."
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  • Talking to Strange Men
Pseudonym of Ruth Rendell.

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 about Barbara Vine...