John Rogers's Reviews > The Chimney Sweeper's Boy

The Chimney Sweeper's Boy by Barbara Vine
Rate this book
Clear rating

's review

really liked it
bookshelves: literature, mystery-crime-suspense

Ruth Rendell, writing as Barbara Vine, is surely one of the great British mystery writers. The Chimney Sweeper’s Boy proceeds along familiar lines … no blood and guts, hot cars, explosions, Russian Mafia, exquisite torture. Instead, marvelous descriptive writing and finely-lined characters. The reading reminded me of watching a tree sloth make its way slowly along its arboreal path. That’s not meant as an insult; the slow ballet of the tree sloth is beautiful, and its slowness allows appreciation of each movement. Vine’s plot moves that way, and her elegant language paints the main characters in detail.
The interesting twist is the juxtaposition of the heinous sex act (years ago) with Sarah’s heinous sex acts in the present. What was heinous years ago had become accepted by the story’s end; thus, the major plot point … the big reveal … is an ironic nothing.
I did have a difficult time keeping attention on the reading. The combination of slow, slow, slow development played a part, but the problem I had keeping focused was that none of the main characters were particularly sympathetic. Learning in detail the inner workings of the mind of a person you don’t much like is a job of work. Having said that, I would read a similar book of hers, if only for the writing.

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read The Chimney Sweeper's Boy.
Sign In »

Reading Progress

December 15, 2019 – Started Reading
January 3, 2020 – Finished Reading
January 6, 2020 – Shelved
January 6, 2020 – Shelved as: literature
January 6, 2020 – Shelved as: mystery-crime-suspense

No comments have been added yet.