With deceptive economy in these nine short stories, Ruth Rendell indicates hidden depths in ordinary events and creates a sense of profound unease. The stories are: 'A Pair of Yellow Lilies', 'Paperwork', 'Mother’s Hel'p, 'Long Live the Queen', 'Dying Happy', 'The Copper Peacock', 'Weeds', 'The Fish-Sitter', and 'An Unwanted Woman'.
©1991 Kingsmarkham Enterprises Ltd (P)2010 BBC Audiobooks Ltd
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The underlying theme of these nine stories seems to be what happens in the face of selfishness. The self-absorption that keeps one from seeing what one does not wish to see, or what does not affect one personally, is of central importance.
In "A Pair of Yellow Lilies," the victim of a theft comes into unexpected contact with an irresistible young man in possession of an equally irresistible article of clothing.
A woman looks back on her strange upbringing in the care of her grandmother who is obsessed with scissors, paste, and her "Paperwork."
A dangerous husband with a vulpine smile is the antagonist of "Mother's Help."
"Long Live the Queen" is about a cat lady and her distress at the loss of a prized pet.
"Dying Happy" has an old man in his last days regretting getting what he wished for.
"Weeds" finds us in an English country garden in which a gathering of guests finds something darker and more dangerous going on than the cultivation of herbacious borders.
"The Copper Peacock" introduces us to a self-absorbed author with elitist preconceptions who fancies the daily help.
"The Fish Sitter" is a bizarre story about, not surprisingly, an aquarium.
The final story, "An Unwanted Woman," is an Inspector Wexford mini-mystery centering upon a teenage girl.
For me, there wasn't a disappointment in the lot, and Penelope Keith's narration was a delectable treat.
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