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The Chimney Sweeper's Boy [Hardcover]

Barbara (pseudonym of Ruth Rendell) Vine
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)

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Book by Barbara Vine

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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First Sentence
"NOT A WORD TO MY GIRLS," HE HAD SAID ON THE WAY home from the hospital. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A terrific novel March 6 2001
It is evident that people have strong reactions to this book. I liked it more than any other Rendell/Vine book, with the possible exception of "Dark Adapted Eye." One of the most fascinating features of the book is the way in which forms of sexual pathology get repeated, with variations, through three generations of a family. Gerald's mother's relationship with her second husband gets echoed in Gerald's relationship with his wife, and Gerald's two daughters act it out in their own peculiar ways, until the very end, when one of them wakes up. There's great insight into what might be called the erotic lives of families, and the writing is first rate.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars More than a mystery Feb. 26 2001
I have a very high opinion of Rendell/Vine and enjoyed every single book I read. This one was one of the best with fully developed characters, a strong story and the spicy unexpected turns.
What distinguishes this author's mysteries from the rest out there is a depth in exploring what motivates people's behavior and acts, no matter whether these are acts of love and loyalty or hatered and shalowness.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars MY FIRST BARBARA VINE! June 17 2000
A friend gave me her copy of "The Chimney Sweeper's Boy" and I was hooked from page 1. The numerous characters are all complex and fascinating--even the minor ones; the plot, although I guessed the "mystery-surprise," unfolds beautifully--I certainly do not want to tell you any of the twists and turns (& there are plenty)of this "psychological mystery;" the writing is graceful, but never calls attention to itself. This is a truly terrific story told wonderfully. I have already purchased my second Barbara Vine book and cannot wait to start it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A Huge Disappointment June 29 1998
By A Customer
To put it bluntly, this is a mystery without mystery, a thriller without thrills. Like "Anna's Book" and "No Night Is Too Long" it is populated by obnoxious and predictable people. Two thirds of the way through you have everything figured out and there are no surprises left. The typical Barbara Vine twist at the end that shocks, surprises, and delights is totally lacking here. What I find most dismaying is that a writer of Vine's stature has sunk to using gimmicks to spice up an otherwise pedestrian plot. I hope she waits until she can come up with some decent characters and a plot that that has more to offer than tabloid sensationalism before publishing another book.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable, but ultimately disappointing Aug. 21 2001
A disappointing Barbara Vine book is still quite an accomplishment. The characters in this one are very interesting, well-drawn and three-dimensional. The story is also interesting, but as I approached the ending, I began to realise that the surprise we're used to getting from Vine/Rendell (and let's face it, we expect this surprise as well as all the other aspects of a good novel) wasn't going to be that interesting or even surprising. The ending here is very weak. It doesn't really seem to follow from the rest of the book (and it's hard to believe that no one would have guessed; when a man is no longer sexually interested in his wife or any other woman, what do most people usually assume?) and it ends very abruptly, as if Vine had reached it too exhausted to go on any further.
Anyone coming to Barbara Vine for the first time would be much better off getting A Fatal Inversion, House of Stairs or A Dark-Adapted Eye.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Great but not my kind of ending...... Nov. 27 2000
By bostoni
I love Rendell/Vine books and this one was incredible! I couldn't wait to see how it ended..... and then it ended in a way that wasn't really appealing to me.
Although the ending wasn't my style, I don't feel that I wasted my time in reading it. I couldn't wait to read the next chapter to see what happened to these sad characters and hoped that they would find some happiness at some point before the end.
I can't say that the ending was to my liking however, isn't that what makes the world go round...? Rendell/Vine is still one of my favorite authors.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Don't waste your time July 12 2000
By A Customer
This was my first Barbara Vine book, and I was disappointed. The plot unfolded painfully slowly, and I almost put it down. The characters were shallow, and had few redeeming qualities. The ending made me nauseous. A big waste of my time.
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4.0 out of 5 stars AN INCREDIBLE MORAL DILEMMA April 26 2000
This was my first Barbara Vine book and I must admit that I hated the first 50 pages and almost put it down. I could not find one redeeming quality in any of the characters. I'm glad I continued because it was one of my favorite reads of '98 in this genre. I have since ordered all of Vine's books and even some of those that she wrote as Ruth Rendall. I felt that the plot was intricately woven especially how it tied into the title of the book. I can guarantee that you won't be disappointed with this choice.
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