The Minotaur

Barbara Vine, Author . Crown/Shaye Areheart $25 (341p) ISBN 978-0-307-23760-6

British master Vine (aka Ruth Rendell) explores life among the Cosways, a country gentry clan that makes the Wuthering Heights crowd look wholesome. Kerstin Kvist, a young Swedish nurse, takes a job at Lydstep Old Hall caring for John Cosway, a mathematical prodigy now labeled by his family as schizophrenic. In addition to John, there are four obsessive sisters ruled by their scarecrow-like matriarch. Gradually, Kerstin suspects that John is being drugged so that his mother and sisters can remain in their estate under the terms of a disputed trust. Vine creates a family and village, Windrose, so vivid you're tempted to book a B and B and investigate things yourself. Some scenes involving John's behavior—his fits and his family's reactions—seem abrupt to the point of being bizarre, but Vine is describing a man hijacked from rationality, through a narrator whose first language isn't English. When murder finally happens, it's simultaneously shocking yet inevitable. Though less elegantly written than 2002's The Blood Doctor , this delivers a more palpable, and thus satisfying, crime. (Mar.)

Reviewed on: 01/16/2006
Release date: 03/01/2006
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 455 pages - 978-0-14-104260-2
Paperback - 341 pages - 978-0-307-27832-6
Open Ebook - 231 pages - 978-0-307-27977-4
Hardcover - 978-0-7393-2609-1
Ebook - 352 pages - 978-0-307-34184-6
MP3 CD - 978-1-4915-3782-4
Paperback - 464 pages - 978-0-14-104261-9
Compact Disc - 978-1-4915-3742-8
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