Hilary G's Reviews > Talking to Strange Men

Talking to Strange Men by Ruth Rendell
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Ruth Rendell novels adapt very well to the audio format and the ones I have listened to have all been enjoyable. Her plots are intricate. Have you seen those pseudo-family trees that "prove" connections between rock stars and royalty, politicians and criminals...? Rendell plots are like that. They remind me of dropping a small blob of ink on blotting paper and seeing the tendrils creep out and join up. Her characters are not always very likable, and often have curious names, but they always seem real and true to life. Surely we all know people like Colin, who still lives with his mother, or Fergus, who worries about everything? She even takes trouble with minor characters. I loved the teacher who peppered his conversations with Latin phrases and the old mother who assumed an invitation to her son to meet for a pint at the pub included her. The plot is very original, I doubt you'll have read anything like this before. Spookside is a very inventive creation, but Rendell keeps it credible. The handling of all the different plot strands is deft, with no loose ends left. I also like the way the reader is left wondering what would happen next. A clever and complex plot.

This said, there were a few things I found puzzling. What was the Gavin/Mynah bird thing all about? Was it just local colour? Or was it showing you how people react when losing someone/thing they care about or want. John, Mark, Peter, Jennifer and Gavin all seemed to me to be foiled in love, be it for birds, wives, boys or whatever. Love is pretty dangerous in Ruth Rendell's world, isn't it, and leads to unwelcome consequences for everyone. I also felt there was a slight lapse in credibility at the point when Jennifer let Charles clean the car just after John's revelation about Peter. Was she in denial, was it a test, was she stupid?

All in all, I thought this was an enjoyable listen as I went up and down the M1 last week. Christian Rodska (whoever he is) was an excellent reader. Mind you, I reckon whoever reads Ruth Rendell, it is still her voice that you hear. Her writing is quite distinctive.
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Reading Progress

Started Reading
June 16, 2013 – Finished Reading
June 17, 2013 – Shelved as: audiobooks
June 17, 2013 – Shelved

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