Overtom's weblog

DEMON IN MY VIEW  (26 august 2004)

English is not only the language of William Shakespeare.

There is no language in which so many detective and thriller stories have been written as English.

People who insist that thrillers and detective novels are a despicable genre intended solely for the purpose of providing cheap entertainment for stupid readers have no idea what they're talking about.

I heard chess players claim the Ruy Lopez opening is a cow that can be milked almost endlessly. Likewise, jazz musicians seem to say All The Things You Are is a standard that can be improvised on inexhaustibly.

Well, the same goes for thrillers and detective-novels. They form a frame in which a good writer can convey every kind of expression of the mind, such as wit, humour, philosophy, poetry. 

But of course, you need a good story to begin with.

A writer who is very capable of producing a good story is Ruth Rendell, whose novel A Demon In My View I read recently.


The story is a very strong one. Right from page one, Ruth Rendell manages to grip the reader with great force.

The detective story is interwoven with a love story, but not as cheap icing on cheap cake. No the love story plays an essential part in the plot.

But let me not betray too much. I'll give you the blurb at the back of the book which reads:

Her white face, beautiful, unmarked by any flaw of skin or feature, stared blankly back at him. He fancied that she had cringed, her slim body pressing further into the wall behind her. He didn't speak. He had never known how to talk to women. There was only one thing he had ever been able to do to women and, advancing now, he did it.

Then, when it was all over, he straightened her against the wall so that she would be ready to die for him again. It was the best thing in his life, just knowing she was there, waiting until the next time ...

And this is only the beginning ...

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