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A Sight for Sore Eyes

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					“A Sight for Sore Eyes," by Ruth Rendell, the prolific, best-selling, award-winning
British mystery writer who's frequently acclaimed the Queen of Suspense, is certainly
another jewel in her crown.

The child Francine Hill has been scolded and sent to her room for breaking one of her
mum's vinyl records. While she's up there, a man enters the house and murders her
mother. Francine will not speak for nine months afterward. Her widowed father will
marry Julia, one of the child specialists working with her; and what a mistake that will
prove to be.

Harriet Oxenholme was once a beauty, her looks captured in a widely-admired picture.
But now, unlike the well-known book by Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray ; her
looks are fading fast, and all that remains is the picture. However, she still wants
company.

Teddy Brex has been dragged up by two feckless, neglectful parents. He's now a
handsome, talented, resentful, cold young man.

Rendell is far too clever and inventive to have these characters bouncing off each other in
the lazy style of American TV shows. She juggles each separately, and builds her plot
rationally, brick neatly upon brick, as Teddy builds his work. Her writing is smooth,
elegant and flexible; dialog and description are first-rate. Her work is infused with a
subtle humor. She arouses the deepest feelings of dread and inevitability as she goes.
And I swear, as she builds to her powerful conclusion, she loses nothing: the woman
catches everything she's thrown.

				
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posted:6/4/2010
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