Piranha to Scurfy: And Other Stories (Vintage Crime/Black Lizard)

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9780375727597: Piranha to Scurfy: And Other Stories (Vintage Crime/Black Lizard)
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The most acclaimed mystery writer on either side of the Atlantic now gives her readers nine exquisitely tuned tales of psychological terror. Delivering high-voltage shocks with the elegance of a Henry James, Piranha to Scurfy is further evidence of Rendell's mastery of any form to which she puts her hand.

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Review:

The short story is, in many ways, the perfect medium for the audio book, and Ruth Rendell continues to be a passionate supporter of the form, providing some vintage entries in her latest collection, Piranha to Scurfy and Other Stories. In Penelope Wilton, Rendell has the perfect reader for this beguilingly disparate selection of tales, united by the usual cold-eyed Rendell narrative voice. Wilton has long been one of this country's finest actresses, equally adroit at comedy and the most demanding drama. Here, she finds a neutral, dispassionate voice that is the perfect conduit for Rendell's understated prose. The title story (the longest in the book, and a reference to an encyclopaedia entry) is something of a departure for Rendell: although her work has always been rich in elements of the macabre, this is her first full-scale horror tale, and a curious concoction it is. Taking equal parts of Stephen King (of whom a suave surrogate appears in the piece), the great English ghost story writer MR James and Rendell's own individual ground of twisted psychology, the tale is ostensibly an atmospheric study in burgeoning mental terror, as a lonely and socially maladroit man finds himself driven to the point of madness when the demon of a bestselling horror tale appears to infiltrate itself into his daily life. Wilton's reading never lays on the horrors with a trowel, allowing the steady accumulation of detail to make its telling effect. The characterisation, perfectly delineated by the actress, has all the dark fascination of Rendell's best work, and if that final shiver of horror isn't quite delivered, Rendell enthusiasts will be more than diverted. The other tales are equally compelling, with The Professional and The Astronomical Scarf being particularly well turned. There is also a pleasingly steady progression of mood throughout the tales, and Wilton finds the dark humour of such pieces as High Mysterious Unionas acutely as the fatalistic menace of the other tales.

--Barry Forshaw

Review:

"Gloriously creepy. . . . Each beautifully crafted story...quietly builds in momentum and tension. . . . Cleverly chilling." --Chicago Tribune

"Like a wine that at first seems familiar and then leaves you with a profoundly different, delicious aftertaste, Piranha to Scurfy leaves you savoring what you've just imbibed for some time." --The Boston Globe

"Rendell at her best-subtle, insightful, disturbing and utterly mesmerizing." --The Buffalo News

"Moves gracefully between mystery and macabre." -- The News & Observer

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780609608531: Piranha to Scurfy: And Other Stories

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ISBN 10: 0609608533 ISBN 13: 9780609608531
Publisher: Crown Publishing Group (NY), 2001
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9780099414995: Piranha To Scurfy And Other Stories

Arrow, 2001
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9780091793470: Piranha To Scurfy And Other Stories

Hutchi..., 2000
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9780385259804: Piranha to Scurfy : And Other Stories

Double..., 2001
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9780091793685: 'Piranha to Scurfy' and Other Stories

Hutchi..., 2000
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