Tigerlily's Orchids

Ruth Rendell, Author
Ruth Rendell. Scribner, $26 (304p) ISBN 978-1-4391-5034-4
Reviewed on: 04/25/2011
Release date: 06/01/2011
Hardcover - 288 pages - 978-0-385-66888-0
Downloadable Audio - 978-1-4618-3216-4
Ebook - 272 pages - 978-1-4391-5438-0
Hardcover - 344 pages - 978-1-4448-0469-0
Hardcover - 288 pages - 978-0-09-193687-7
Paperback - 417 pages - 978-1-4104-4775-3
Ebook - 288 pages - 978-0-385-66889-7
Paperback - 352 pages - 978-0-09-955064-8
Paperback - 288 pages - 978-0-385-66890-3
Downloadable Audio - 978-1-4423-4189-0
Paperback - 352 pages - 978-0-09-955063-1
Paperback - 288 pages - 978-1-4391-5039-9
Open Ebook - 352 pages - 978-1-4090-0635-0
Hardcover - 978-1-4423-4392-4
Hardcover - 1 pages - 978-1-4712-3817-8
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Rendell's spare, sleek novel of psychological suspense gets off to a slow start, then picks up speed to become vintage Rendell, not the powerhouse of the 1990s but with enough plot petrol to blow most American authors out of the water. Personalities and generations clash and coexist at Lichfield House, a north London condominium, whose residents include Stuart Font, a vapid Romeo; 60-year-old Olwen Curtis, boozing away her liver; and Marius Potter, an ex-hippie growing fond of his neighbor, Rose Preston-Jones. Add a pedophile janitor, a trio of faddish college students, and a mysterious house across the street where immigrants from Hong Kong allegedly grow orchids, and you have all the elements for spontaneous social combustion. Less a mystery than a slice of life, the book offers a lone murder that comes across as an afterthought because neither the characters nor the reader can feel strongly about it. As always, Rendell (Portobello) spices the action with just the right gothic ingredients to keep things baroque but consistently believable. (June)
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