A Dark-Adapted Eye Paperback – Oct 1 1993
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Writing under the pseudonym Barbara Vine, Ruth Rendell departs from her famous detective team of Wexford and Burden to tell a gripping tale of family madness. Vera Hillyard is a domineering and possessive woman who strives for obsessive control over a malicious older son, a youngest son who is--or isn't--illegitimate, and a daughter who is a devoted sister to her younger brother. The daughter secretly seeks to escape Vera's grasp and instead provokes a murder. This winner of the 1986 Edgar Award for best mystery novel belongs to the genre of old murders reconsidered and the question of who did what to whom and why is teasingly left unresolved.
"A superb psychological thriller... this is a smashing performance." -- San Diego Union
"Sophie Ward does an excellent job spinning the tale and edging the listener closer to its gripping conclusion. Her British accent and buoyant voice are excellent for the niece's first-person narrative and the female characters. Her portrayal of the complex family dynamics is compelling." -- AudioFile, November 1994 --This text refers to the Audio Cassette edition.
Top Customer Reviews
Personally, I do not feel Vera should have been hanged. The murder had not been premeditated. It was a crime of passion and temporary insanity brought on by none other than the emotionally impotent Eden.
And another thing, what about that niece of Vera's. Faith knew what Eden was out to do. Both Faith and her husband knew what Eden was doing was wrong, they should have done something about it. Some how I feel this murder and hanging could have been avoided, if Faith had gotten envolved. And where was Vera's brother John in all of this? Why didn't he get envolved!!?
Ultimately though, Vera should not have been hanged, given the circumstances. If there was an injustice, it was against poor Vera.
Sorry for typos, can't figure out how to use my spelling checker here.
So if you are looking for a fast paced mystery novel then this is not for you. If your expectation is that of a piece of literature that well depicts a society family in 1940s England, and the dysfunctional nature that they try to conceal and how it affects their lives both then and into the present, then this will not disappoint. Just don't expect this book to go quickly.
The tale Vine has to relate is a complex one, extraordinarily deftly told: one has only to see the well-meant expensive botch made of it on British television to see how extraordinarily subtle Vine's art is here. The sense of wartime and postwar atmosphere is marvelously evoked, and the particular attention given here to WWII makeup and glamor (a favorite preoccupation of Barbara Vine's) is an especially intriguing and enjoyable detail.
Most recent customer reviews
I really enjoyed this book. The characters felt very real, and I felt better about my family after reading about this one. Always a plus. Read morePublished on July 6 2004 by madcarrot
I was disappointed in the work. Rendell's writing style is wonderful, her vocabulary artful. The problem was that I was not made to care about any of the characters--just... Read morePublished on Sept. 9 2002 by Christian Dimas
If you want a book, where it's a puzzle to find out "whodunnit", then this isn't for you.
Very quickly (within the first 10 pages) you know who is going to be killed by who. Read more
I think this was my first Barbara Vine book and what a treat. Truthfully the first chapter was a bit hard to follow, Vine sort of throws you into the family history without much... Read morePublished on June 18 2002 by J. Miller
This is perhaps my favorite, although that is so hard to decide, of Rendell's Vine persona. This plot unravels so mysteriously that it is hard, even at the end, to be sure what... Read morePublished on Feb. 9 2002 by Nancy Trease
Having read most books by Rendell, P.D. James and Elizabeth George I am getting a bit tired of their nearly identical styles and equal and sometimes ludicrous attempts to impress... Read morePublished on Oct. 27 2001
Before I started reading the book, I had had the impression that it would be full of twists and have a shocking, unexpected and revealing ending. Read morePublished on May 25 2001 by xyz
Okay, I admit it, I'm a big Barbara Vine/Ruth Rendell fan, but aside from that, this is my very favorite of all her books. I don't know where to start - just read it! Read morePublished on May 18 2001 by Jeanne E. Legault