Author Archives: Galit Gottlieb

Rendell, Ruth, Chief Inspector Wexford Novels (aka Barbara Vine) –

1930-2015 Baroness Rendell of Babergh, CBE, was an English author of thrillers and psychological murder mysteries. She is best known for creating Chief Inspector Wexford, starting with From Doon to Death, 1964 and ending with the 20th Inspector Wexford novel, End in Tears, 2005. Her first novel as her Barbara Vine pseudonym was A Dark-Adapted Eye, 1985. Rendell was said to have worked out her plot idea and who will commit the crime before she started writing her detective novels. She told Michael Hanlon of the Toronto Star, “I write intending this Perpetrator X in mind. I write without letting my readers know that it’s X.” She said that when she got to the last chapter, she usually found that someone else was the killer. Books under her own name tended to be more plot-driven while her Barbara Vine books focused on the mind of those with pathological, sometimes obsessive, problems. But everything of hers that I’ve read has stayed with me (often as a nightmare) over the years.

The Monster in the Box, A Wexford Case

You’re Literally Pushing me Over the Edge

To be perfectly honest, I don’t always have the bandwidth to worry about this stuff. I like to think that I always use original language and that jargon is not in my wheelhouse. I’m just saying that some readers expect a higher standard of writing. Feel free to take my suggestions with a grain of salt, dear fellow authors, but too many of us grab at low-hanging fruit.

Four Dead Horses, K.T. Sparks

“Martin Oliphant had always hated horses. Their staggering stupidity. Their unexplained, unexpected, and ever-explosive snorting. The way they twitched distinct patches of their skin to dislodge flies. The way they shied madly at the most innocuous occurrences: A golf umbrella at fifty feet; a leaf falling from, of all places, a tree; a bale of hay stacked exactly where it was supposed to be stacked and had been stacked for the last month. Martin Oliphant hated horses, but he didn’t, it must be said, wish horses dead. It must be said because horses died around him. Died or almost died….And it was horses, dead ones mostly, that blazed the trail to his life-forging passion. Horses brought Martin to cowboy poetry, and horses, live ones mostly, were cowboy poetry’s central theme.”

The Man Who Loved His Wife, Jennifer Moses

“Three months after his aging daughter Rhonda gave him a one-year-old poodle-Lab-golden-retriever mix to keep as a pet, Felder came to believe that the dog — who looked at him mournfully whenever he went to the bathroom and waited for him by the door, as still as a statue, until he came out — was in fact none other than the reincarnation of his sister, Esther, may her name be a blessing. Esther, who was seven years his elder and his de facto mother, had been taken to Bergen-Belsen during the war and had never been heard from since.”

Fowler, Christopher – Bryant and May Mysteries

“Do you enjoy reading?”
“I enjoyed Fifty Shades of Grey.”
Bryant quailed at the thought. “That’s not really reading, is it? More like staring at an assortment of words.”
“It’s very popular.”
“So is taking photographs of your dinner for Facebook, but that doesn’t mean it adds to the total sum of human knowledge.”

Thomas, Sherry – The Lady Sherlock Series

“Lord Ingram, travelling from his brother’s country estate to his own, had stopped in London to see Holmes, with whom he shared a long, complex, and increasingly line-blurring friendship. He had intended to tell her that he was ready to erase the lines altogether. And as he’d waited in the afternoon parlor of Mrs. Watson’s house to be received by Holmes, trying to rein in his anxiety and agitation at the enormity of what he was about to do, Mrs. Treadles had arrived, with the news that her husband had been arrested on suspicion of murder.”