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The Killing Doll [Audiobook] [Audio Cassette]

Ruth Rendell , Ric Jerrom
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Kindle Edition CDN $9.99  
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Audio, CD, Audiobook, CD, Unabridged CDN $13.20  
Audio, Cassette, Audiobook, February 1999 --  

Book Description

February 1999
The winter before he was sixteen, amateur magician Pup made a Faustian pact and sold his soul to the devil. He wasn't quite sure what he was going to get in exchange. Pup's older sister, Dolly, is manically obsessed with her birthmark, believing it is responsible for her status as a social outcast. She becomes pathologically transfixed by Pup's dabbling in magic, desperate to believe he has occult powers that can cure her disfigurement, improve their lives, and kill their stepmother. As Dolly's obsession grows, a young mentally disturbed Irishman lurks just around the corner, inseparable from his sharpened set of knives...In this intense and deeply disturbing novel, Ruth Rendell explores a haunted world of obsession, delusions and murderous fantasy, with dazzling virtuosity.

Product Details


Product Description

From Library Journal

This is vintage spooky Rendell (One Across, Two Down), made even better by the fine reading by Ric Jerrom. Pup Yearman sets up a temple of occultism and casts spells, which convince his unbalanced sister Dolly that he can actually do magic, even commit murder. As Pup tries to get out from under the burden of his sister's belief, Dolly falls further and further into madness. Meanwhile, in an apartment nearby, Diarmit Bawne (and his alter ego, Colin Moore) hears his own much deadlier demons and keeps his knives and cleavers sharpened against them. Listeners will love this journey into the dark side, where reader Jerrom never falters in his eerie evocation of the all-too-believable characters. Recommended for all fiction collections.AHarriet Edwards, East Meadow P.L., NY
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

"Rendell's psychological insights are so absorbing, it's easy to forget what a superb plotter she is" The Times "Ruth Rendell's books are not only whodunits but whydunits, uncovering the motive roots of murder" Mail on Sunday "Ruth Rendell is surely one of the greatest novelists presently at work in our language. The extraordinary depth and accuracy of her psychological portraits is matched only by the rare inventiveness of her storytelling" Scott Turow "Once her characters start twisting on every-tightening tracks, their fates are brilliantly sealed, and it's never obvouis who'll be the victim or the culprit. Rendell's greatest trick is making an unforeseen outcome feel predestined" Financial Times "The most brilliant mystery novelist of our time" Patricia Cornwell

Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars One of Her Best Feb. 14 2001
Format:Hardcover
I think Ruth Rendell is the best suspense writer living. If you have never read one of her books before, then prepare to be enthralled by her characters, her plot and by the fierce intelligence evident in her writing. I have read everything she has ever written and "The Killing Doll" is perhaps her finest work. This is not a nice, neat, cosy stereotypical English mystery. It is a story about disturbed and disturbing people who act out of desperation, loneliness and fear. You will feel pity for some of her characters and loathing for others. Their stories will remain with you long after you turn the final page.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars  14 reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ruth Rendell is truly amazing Nov. 30 2003
By RachelWalker - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Ruth Rendell has written so many novels that publishers have a job keeping them all in print, all readily available, and normally they fail dismally, meaning that only the most recent novels are available, and older, equally brilliant little gems, are only eclectically available to readers, and thus people frequently miss out on the author's entire marvellous cannon. The problem is that if even one novel by Rendell remains out of print, readers are missing a unique and unequalable reading experience. The Killing Doll is just such a case - an absolutely unique book among her body of work, yet it retains all the factors which conspire to make each novel brilliant. Psychology, irony, chill, skin-crawling reality, brilliant characters, brilliant plots and shocking twists, etc etc etc.
The Killing Doll is a relatively hard novel to pin down. Most of Rendell's novels outside the Wexford series tend to be. This one is, on the one hand, a book about the Faustian pact of young Peter Yearman who sells his soul to grow taller, and soon becomes drawn, along with his adoring older sister Dolly, into the world of the occult. However, as Peter grows up he turns away from the magick he once believed in, and goes out into the real world. Unfortunately, Dolly - shy and friendless, nervous of going outside of the house due to a large birthmark on her cheek - cannot separate herself from it - she still believes his seeming powers are genuine. As events conspire to tip her further over the edge - from very early on it is clear that isolated Dolly, who talks to her dead mother and comes to make dolls representative of those she hopes Peter's magic will harm, is a little Schizophrenic - the novel from then on dwells in the very dark places of madness, as all the characters move along happily with their dangerous delusions, until the final catastrophic chapters in which all the events are brought to a shattering climax.
I adore her books. I have a passion and thirst for them which will not be slaked, and I defy anyone to deny that she is not one of the best novelists writing today. Fine, I have no problem with people disliking her books (after all, some people of course won't like keeping company with strange, slightly warped characters who tang with a disturbing, uncomfortable reality) if they find the things they cover slightly disturbing, but anyone should at least be able to admit the incredible quality which lies at the core, whether they like the subject matter or not. It is quality that sings to me, sings to me of damaged people and twisted things, terrible worlds of Shakespearean irony (the tradition of the great Tragedy is alive and well in Rendell's novels) , and lives lived at risk from those around us who need just a subtle trigger to send them to madness. She is an insightful, clever and diabolically vicious writer who never shies away from showing us a different side of life, and The Killing Doll is another work of genius.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ruth Rendell Rules! July 7 2001
By Marcie - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I have been on a Ruth Rendell kick lately, the last five novels read have been hers. The first, and still favorite was "A Sight for Sore Eyes", but "The Killing Doll comes in a close 2nd. This book centers around a young woman named Dolly who is quite an introvert due to the huge disfiguring birthmark on her face. She stays in her house for the most part and does sewing for the neighbors to make money. After her mother dies, Dolly becomes the mother figure to her younger brother, Pup who, as a teenager, sells his soul to the devil in order to grow taller. This leads to a fascination with the occult and Dolly is soon his biggest supporter, urging him to conjure up spirits and get rid of the people she feels are ruining her life, such as her new stepmother. Pup humors her and after performing some rituals, the stepmother does indeed die. Dolly begins to lose touch with reality and plunges deeper into the occult, while Pup is losing interest in it. The story shows how disturbed Dolly becomes and how her fate entwines with another disturbed young man. As usual, Ruth Rendell writes a real page turner with a style all her own.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of Her Best Feb. 14 2001
By Paige Turner - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I think Ruth Rendell is the best suspense writer living. If you have never read one of her books before, then prepare to be enthralled by her characters, her plot and by the fierce intelligence evident in her writing. I have read everything she has ever written and "The Killing Doll" is perhaps her finest work. This is not a nice, neat, cosy stereotypical English mystery. It is a story about disturbed and disturbing people who act out of desperation, loneliness and fear. You will feel pity for some of her characters and loathing for others. Their stories will remain with you long after you turn the final page.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pure Class Aug. 21 2004
By Veronica - Published on Amazon.com
I read this book as part of my holiday reading and I was not disappointed. The novel was chilling, disturbing and all too realistic. Everything was right on target - the plot, the characters, the fantastic ending...

The main characters are a motley crew. Pup is a young man who wants to be a geomancer (like a magician) and whose belief in magic is the catalyst of all the terrible things to follow. Dolly is Pup's sister who is reclusive due to a birthmark on her cheek which has left her confidence in shreds. Diarmit is a man who has never been the same mentally since a bomb exploded near him when he was a boy in Ireland, and who finds comfort only by carrying around a dangerous set of knives. It is scarcely necessary to mention that these characters end up embroiled in a diabolical plot that is psychologically fascinating.

I would recommend this to dedicated Rendell readers because this book is really, really great. To first time Rendell readers I would suggest starting with some of her newer books (such as Sight for Sore Eyes) and working back to this one because the book is a bit old fashioned in its language and clothes the characters wear etc, but this is not a big problem.

JoAnne
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A mystery? I think not. Nov. 15 2004
By Jordan Reiter - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Library Binding
I read this book because I was under the mistaken impression that it was a mystery novel. This book, however, is miles away from the traditional mystery novel: there are no whodunnit aspects whatsover, no clues, no "bad guys", and no detective. This book is called a mystery mainly because they needed to call it *something*, and mystery was closest. So, don't read this if you're in the mood for a classic mystery experience.

That being said, this book is worth reading. Imagine, if you will, a master baker making a cake with batter mixed with broken glass: The cake would be beautiful, masterfully formed, delicious, and painful to consume. Reading this book is a similar delicious but painful experience.

The characters in this book, aside from one (Pup), all become trapped in their own personalities and psychoses, leading them all in an inevitably downward spiral. Each character is represented faithfully and personally, so much so that you come to sympathize with every character in the book -- including a murderer. Dolly, who receives much of the focus in this book, is especially difficult to watch. As her life inevitably become more and more like living death, I became more and more distraught until reading the story became almost uncomfortable for me. If this book is anything, ultimately it is how one small disfigurement (a nevus on Dolly's face) in turn disfigures her entire life.

In order to make this novel feel more like a mystery, the blurb on the back of the book promises a surprise ending, but I saw it coming from a mile away, as will most people reading the book. This predictable ending makes it no less of great book, but does emphasize this book's sense of fatalism.

Although well written, I'm giving it 4 stars because it really is uncomfortable to read and so won't be as fun of an experience to the traditional mystery reader.
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