tirsdag den 16. marts 2010

Ruth Rendell, Portobello (2008)


Mini review.

As someone who has loved British crime writer Rendell´s books for ages (more than two decades I believe), it was a matter of course that I had to buy and read Portobello.

“Street markets abounded in the area, in Kenley Street, Sirdar Road, Norland Road, Crescent Street and Golborne Road. The one to survive was the Portobello ... The Portobello has a rich personality, vibrant, brilliant in colour, noisy, with graffiti that approach art, bizarre and splendid. An indefinable edge to it adds a spice of danger.”

Rendell offers a lively and engaged portrait of the Portobello area with many fine characters. We meet Eugene Wren, the secretive owner of a fairly successful gallery who is about to marry Ella, Joel Roseman, a young man who is being haunted by his imaginary friend, and Lance Platt, an unemployed, lazy scoundrel who believes society owes him a decent living.

In spite of the fine language, the vivid setting and some interesting characters, the story did not really grab me. There is enough of a crime plot in it to warrant the label crime story, but it sort of peters out in the last chapters.

13 kommentarer:

Margot Kinberg sagde ...

Dorte - Thanks for this "snapshot." I'm a Rendell fan, too, so it's disappointing to hear that you thought the plot didn't stay strong throughout the book. I may get it out of the library to check it out, though, because it is Rendell, after all, and I do love the way she can develop characters.

....Petty Witter sagde ...

Not one of the crime writers I read very often. I'm determined to rectify this though as I've been given a whole load of her books from a friend whose wife, a huge R.R. fan, died recently. I'm going to start with The Babes In The Wood - any good?

Dorte H sagde ...

Margot: yes, I also feel some kind of veneration for Rendell, and her language and setting are of such great quality.

Tracy: I think The Babes in the Wood is really good. The plot surprised me so much that I remember it - and that doesn´t happen very often. But even though it is easy to read the Wexford novels out of order, it may be a good idea to take the oldest first as it is easier to get to know his family and sidekick in that way.

If you want to know something about the oldest Wexford novels, you might check my "Reg Wexford" labels - I wrote three articles about his development last spring.

Kelly sagde ...

I always prefer to read novels in a series in order.... for exactly the reason you stated: getting to know the characters as they develop.

I mentioned in an earlier comment my only Rendell outing. I definitely need to try some others!

Beth F sagde ...

I don't think I've read any Rendell yet. I too like to start from the beginning so I see how characters change and grow throughout a series.

Blogger ate my first comment, so I hope this isn't a repeat.

Martin Edwards sagde ...

Dorte, like you and Margot, I am a big Rendell fan. This is one of the few I haven't read, but I do think that one or two of her more recent books have been similarly not quite up to her usual level of brilliance.

....Petty Witter sagde ...

Thanks for that advice Dorte. As I said I was given this book so I'll have to ask if they have any of the previous books and if not, library here I come.

Dorte H sagde ...

Kelly: I really think you should. She is a prolific writer, and though she has written a few which are not quite up to her usual, excellent standard, she has given me so many wonderful reading experiences over the years.

Beth: sorry Blogger is playing tricks on you. It would be really interesting to see what you think about the early Wexford stories.

Martin: it is a bit sad, really. I did consider not reviewing it, but I have written so many enthusiastic reviews and articles about Rendell that I thought it was fair enough to mention that even this queen of crime has a few lapses.

Sheila (Bookjourney) sagde ...

I was excited to read your review on this one as I love a good mystery. Bummer it kind of petered out at the end.

cathryngrant sagde ...

Thanks for an honest review. However, being a huge Rendell fan, I'm appalled that I missed this, and will read it despite the less than stellar ending!

Dorte H sagde ...

Sheila: good to hear from you! If you love a good mystery, I can recommend her more than twenty Reg Wexford mysteries. Most of these are first rate crime novels!

Cathryn: I am certainly also going to buy her Wexford story from 2009. His family are like old friends.

Kerrie sagde ...

I agree Dorte. It really wasn't in her top 10

Dorte H sagde ...

Kerrie: perhaps if one loved love stories, but when it is sold as crime, I excpect an exciting ending.