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The Girl Next Door: A Novel by Ruth Rendell
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The Girl Next Door: A Novel (2014)

by Ruth Rendell

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I listened to this book. It wasn't really a mystery as you see who did it at the beginning of the book. Fast forward about 60 years and a pair of severed hands are found in tunnels that used to be frequented by local children. Those children, now old, get back together to tell the police what they remember. The story is primarily about the effect on the these people and how their lives are changed. It was ok but not my favorite.
  taurus27 | Mar 26, 2018 |
The Girl Next Door by Ruth Rendell
2★'s

What's it About?
In the waning months of the second World War, a group of children discover a tunnel in their neighborhood outside London. For that summer of 1944, the subterranean space becomes their “secret garden,” where the friends play games, tell their fortunes, and perform for each other.

Six decades later, construction workers make a grisly discovery beneath a house on the same land: a tin box containing two skeletal hands, one male and one female. As the hands make national news, the friends come together once again, to recall their long ago days for a detective. Then the police investigation sputters, and the threads holding their friendship together begin to unravel. Is the truth buried amid the tangled relationships of these aging men and women and their memories? Will it emerge before it’s too late?

What Did I Think?
From the above description it sounds interesting doesn't it? In all honesty I'm not sure if it was the story or the horrible voice of the person reading it? The story dragged on and on as the husband and wife discussed their childhood secret meeting place and then they discussed it some more with two other of their friends. I just wanted them to shut up and get on with the story. I have read Ruth Rendell books over the years and loved them so the only thing I can conclude is that aliens must have abducted Ms. Rendell and sent a body double to write this book along with one of their kind to read it. ( )
  Carol420 | Jun 17, 2017 |
A massive thanks to Net Galley and the publisher for an ARC of this title.
I have been a fan of Ruth Rendell the day I read her first novel and for me she is one of the few authors whose books don’t get repetitive and samey which is no mean feat considering how many novels she has produced.
Her latest offering is less of a crime novel and more of a study in childhood friendships, love and passion. A pair of severed hands are found in a construction site, they have been there since the 1940’s. A group of children who used to play on the site reunite to mull over the find and old passions and secrets are reignited. What the author has captured perfectly for me is the thoughts and feelings of an older generation. The characters are similar ages to my parents and I found myself constantly wondering what they got up to when they were younger!
The real joy of this novel, like so many others that Ruth Rendell has written, is the location however. I was born and bought up in the area that she describes and spent many years living in Loughton so all the places described were so familiar it felt like she’d written it just for me, Alan and Rosemary’s evening constitutional used to be my walk home from work many years ago.
I loved this book and will certainly buy a copy for my mother-in-law who lived in Baldwins Hill for years and probably had no idea what was going on right under her nose.
( )
  angelaoatham | Feb 21, 2017 |
I would never have chosen to read The Girl Next Door, but I enjoyed listening to the audiobook. I could greatly appreciate the relationships and situations of the various older characters. Rendell introduces a group of school age children, and then quickly turns to sixty years later. Michael's mother disappeared right after WWII, and Michael went to live with his father's cousin. Sixty years later, the children are reunited when a pair of mismatched hands are discovered. Rendell reigns as a mystery writer supreme in England, but this story basks in relationships and the realities of getting older. The events bring laughter and tears and understanding. After completing the story, I went and telephoned my mother and step mother. ( )
  delphimo | Feb 12, 2017 |
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For Michael Redington with love
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He was a handsome man.
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Why do anything at all I don't enjoy? I won't. That's how it is for me now. (chapter 23)
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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"Mystery novel about friendship, love, and aging. Synopsis: In the wanting months of the second World War, a group of children discover an earthen tunnel in their neighborhood. Throughout the summer of 1944--until one father forbids it--the subterranean space becomes their "secret garden," where the friends play games and tell stories. Six decades later, beneath a house on the same land, construction workers uncover a tin box containing two skeletal hands, one male and one female. As the discovery makes national news, the friends come together once again, to recall their days in the tunnel for the detective investigating the case. Is the truth buried among these aging friends and memories? This impromptu reunion causes long-simmering feelings to bubble to the surface. Mild-mannered Alan, stuck in a passionless marriage, begins flirting with Daphne, a glamorous widow who was once his teenage sweetheart. Michael, lonely after the death of his wife, considers contacting his estranged father, who sent Michael to live with an aunt after his mother vanished in 1944. Lewis begins remembering details about his Uncle James, an army private who once accompanied the Children into the tunnels, and who later disappeared. In THE GIRL NEXT DOOR, Rendell brilliantly shatters our assumptions about age, showing that the choices people make--and the emotions behind them--remain as potent in late life as they were in youth"--… (more)

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