Daphne's Reviews > One Across, Two Down
One Across, Two Down
Mar 02, 2011
I'm a huge fan of Ruth Rendell's suspense novels (as opposed to her Inspector Wexford mysteries, which I don't read as often) and always enjoy her crisp prose and wit. But this novel, from the 1970s, isn't as good as most, perhaps because none of the main characters are compelling. The main protagonist is Stanley, a no-good husband who wants his mother-in-law dead so he can finally put his hands on her money. These two enemies spar humorously, neither of them attractive to the reader, while Vera, the poor wife, stands by her man. She isn't interesting at all, has let Stanley run things for two decades, and so is frustratingly obtuse--as she of course needs to be for the story to work. But it makes for less enjoyable reading than usual, since there's nothing interesting about her as a character. Most interesting to this reader was the look back at the simple days before internet and email, when bank slips were written out by hand and people wrote letters to each other!
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