The Bridesmaid ペーパーバック – 2004/10/26
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Philip hated violence in any form. He loved beautiful things — like Flora, the stone statue in his mother’s garden and Senta, his sister’s bridesmaid. White-skinned, delicate Senta of the silver hair, who looked just like Flora. The passionate, fascinating Senta who begged Philip to prove his love for her by killing someone. . .
"--a finely crafted tale of lust and lies with a bit of a Fatal Attraction twist to the Strangers on a Train plot--It's hard to imagine anyone who can do more justice to psychopath than R. Rendell. - The Globe and Mail
"Ms. Rendell is a diabolically subtle writer." - The New York Times Book Review
"The range and complexity of her characters, the consistent quality of her prose, and the ingenuity of her plotting never fail to generate my admiration and amazement." - Sue Grafton
This doesn't really work, mostly because every single plot point is blatantly obvious from Page One. There were no surprises whatsoever in this book, and it is a testament to the "Iris Murdoch lite" aspect of Rendell's writing that despite this, the book was completely readable and compelling once we got past the awkward first chapter, which was one of the most painfully obvious set-up pieces I've ever read in any novel, ever, complete with a Chekhov's gun that was still warm and smoking, and a structure as obvious as a skeleton in a science lab.
But you'll note--I kept reading, and I gave this four stars. There are many reasons for this, from the incredibly delicate exploration of parent/child relationships to the equally delicate examination of midlife romance, and the chilling examination of the ways in which passion makes people incredibly stupid. I also enjoyed the gender-switching aspect of this novel; in most thrillers of this kind, a woman is in thrall to a charismatic man, and it was nice to see this trope believably reversed.
Recommended, with a caveat: You'll be tempted to give up soon after you start, but give it time. Your patience will be rewarded.