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Barbara Vine Books In Order

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Publication Order of Standalone Novels

A Dark-Adapted Eye (1986)Description / Buy at Amazon
A Fatal Inversion (1987)Description / Buy at Amazon
The House of Stairs (1988)Description / Buy at Amazon
Gallowglass (1990)Description / Buy at Amazon
King Solomon's Carpet (1991)Description / Buy at Amazon
Asta's Book / Anna's Book (1993)Description / Buy at Amazon
No Night Is Too Long (1994)Description / Buy at Amazon
In the Time of His Prosperity (1995)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Brimstone Wedding (1995)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Chimney Sweeper's Boy (1998)Description / Buy at Amazon
Grasshopper (2000)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Blood Doctor (2002)Description / Buy at Amazon
Minotaur (2005)Description / Buy at Amazon
Birthday Present (2008)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Child's Child (2012)Description / Buy at Amazon

Barbara Vine is a pen name used by author Ruth Rendell.

She is the author of many novels, starting with her debut fictional novel in 1986 titled A Dark Adapted Eye. It was followed by A Fatal Inversion in 1987 and The House of Stairs in 1988. Barbara Vine went on to write books like Gallowglass, King Solomon’s Carpet, Asta’s Book, No Night is Too Long, Grasshopper, The Blood Doctor, and more. She is the award winner for Best Novel from the Edgar Awards for A Dark Adapted Eye.

Many of her books fall into the genre of her psychological crime novels. She is praised by her readers for her insights into the human mind and her elegant prose. Some common themes included in her books involve characters having family misunderstandings or secrets kept and crimes done and the side effects of what those do. She is known for her engaging plots and cogent characters as well as social issues like women’s status and domestic violence.

Her first book was well received. Published in 1986, a Dark Adapted Eye deals with the character of Faith Severn. When her aunt is hanged by the state for the charge of murder, whatever caused her to do that died when she did. For over thirty years, the family of this woman hid the truth.

Faith Severn is contacted one day by a journalist. They are interested in writing a book about Vera Hillyard’s execution. Vera is Faith’s aunt. Faith decides to go into the story and slowly reveals what happened. She goes into the Hillyard family’s intricate workings, with all of its complexity and even claustrophobia. The journalist’s inquiries prompt Faith to go back to the day when her aunt took up a knife into her hand and went into a child’s nursery, maybe the world will know at last what drove her aunt to do that dreadful act.

When her parents died, Vera left her son and her military husband to be cared for by others. She becomes a mother-like figure to Eden, who is her younger sister. They have a very close relationship that is almost like Grey Gardens and excludes many other people. They have a secretive relationship as well where it seems like they only trust each other. Living in isolation during the second world war, Eden is Vera’s top priority and concern. She devotes her life to taking care of her.

However, that concern and caretaker role quickly turns into something more like Mommy Dearest. Vera becomes obsessive and really controlling, and becomes quite a horrible woman. Faith comes to visit for holidays and vacations, but Vera is always as cruel as she can be. She is jealous and idolizes Eden, who is young and beautiful. As Faith gets older, she begins to notice a lot of changes between Vera and Eden.

With Vera and Eden’s relationship growing increasingly strange, and Vera’s oddball son Francis returning out of nowhere, things get weird. When Eden leaves the Hillyard house, Vera is incensed. And through it all, the family secrets course through everything like secretive underground rivers.

The result is a psychological thriller that flies through the action and leads to the biggest secret of them all. Faith goes through it all for the journalist as she recounts the circumstances that led up to her relative’s execution. But was Vera really at fault, or was she set up for a horrible crime that she never committed? You’ll have to read it to find out.

A Fatal Inversion is the second book published by this author and it came out in 1987. The story takes place in 1976, which is experiencing an unusually hot summer. In Wyvis Hall, a group of young people is camping out. But when the cadavers of a woman and child are found in the animal cemetery of Wyvis Hall a decade later, people struggle to make sense of it.

This richly-written novel is a mystery unlike any other you’ve read before. This is a psychological dive into the world of a twisted and demented mind that commits ultimately what is a horrible murder. With elegant writing and a gripping plot, A Fatal Inversion is a novel that will compel you to read all the way to the end.

When a landowner that lives in the picturesque countryside of England finds a pet cemetery on his property, he’s perplexed. His property is very large, and this old pet cemetery is intriguing, if not a little disturbing. However, the situation really gets disturbing when he also discovers human bones buried in with the pets. That’s when he knows it’s time to call the authorities– you don’t just sit on a situation like this. Particularly when it’s your property and you are already probably going to be a suspect even when you do call it in.

When the police investigation starts, a whole series of events are put into motion. The property owner also gets the opportunity to find out more about who owned the house before him. A young man at the age of nineteen inherited the manor before he had bought it. During a wonderful summer, he had lived a carefree life with his friends. The would sell the contents of the home in order to get money to feed themselves and even provide a little entertainment.

It was during his care of the manor that the murder occurred. Something definitely happened that summer, but will they ever find out what went down? This book is an exciting tale of mystery and dark secrets that are slowly rising to light. As the saying goes, what is done in the dark will always come to the light. Some people are looking at secrets getting out that they might not want out.

With intriguing characters and a plot that will have you turning the pages until the end, find out who was murdered, who did it, and most importantly of all– why they did it in the first place. Nearly a dozen years later, the members of this group must deal with the consequences of what they have done. Check out this book for yourself to see how it ends!

Book Series In Order » Authors » Barbara Vine

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