Hilary Mantel

Take One Before Bedtime

Collected Short Stories

By Ruth Rendell

Hutchinson 536pp £12.95 order from our bookshop

So: how does she think of them? This fat book is made up of four smaller collections, spanning nine years of writing; each story nasty, brutish and short, each displaying a pat familiarity with the baser passions, each tightly, tritely organised, and most ending in murder; most cocooned in a sort of rotten gentility, like a cadaver wrapped in a net curtain. How does she think of them, and why, like the perfect poison, do they slip down so easily?

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