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Publisher's Summary

In this psychologically explosive story from "one of the most remarkable novelists of her generation" People, the discovery of bones in a tin box sends shockwaves across a group of long-time friends.

In the waning months of the second World War, a group of children discover an earthen tunnel in their neighborhood outside London. Throughout the summer of 1944 - until one father forbids it - the subterranean space becomes their "secret garden", where the friends play games and tell stories.

Six decades later, beneath a house on the same land, construction workers uncover a tin box containing two skeletal hands, one male and one female. As the discovery makes national news, the friends come together once again, to recall their days in the tunnel for the detective investigating the case. Is the truth buried among these aging friends and their memories?

This impromptu reunion causes long-simmering feelings to bubble to the surface. Alan, stuck in a passionless marriage, begins flirting with Daphne, a glamorous widow. Michael considers contacting his estranged father, who sent Michael to live with an aunt after his mother vanished in 1944. Lewis begins remembering details about his Uncle James, an army private who once accompanied the children into the tunnels, and who later disappeared.

In The Girl Next Door Rendell brilliantly shatters the assumptions about age, showing that the choices people make - and the emotions behind them - remain as potent in late life as they were in youth.

©2014 Ruth Rendell (P)2014 Simon & Schuster Audio

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Kept unfolding more twists and turns

This was one of the best Ruth Rendell mysteries I have read (of many). Somehow, even though you know both the crime and the culprit from the first chapter, the unveiling of the lives of all the senior citizens affected dozens of years after the event is absorbing. While things are tied up more or less neatly at the end, you will not find what you thought will happen has happened. Rendell gets the reader into the psyche of several characters who met as children during WWII, and how life has warped or injured them, and how they have survived when they all re-meet much later in life. While you don't necessarily like the characters, Rendell has made you care about what they will do. Really enjoyed this long book, and as ever, the map of London in front of you always helps with Rendell's excellent evocation of scenery.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

ANOTHER EXCELLENT RENDELL NOVEL

It's a love story, it's a mystery with a twist, it's good. Rendell always gives the annoying people a good kick, I like that.

If you're a fan, don't miss this one.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Ruth
  • Newton, MA
  • 08-15-17

...what?

Any additional comments?

The narration was wonderful, but the plot didn't make any sense. The whole book felt like those first few chapters when you're waiting for the story to get started. I kept thinking I must only be a few chapters in, and then suddenly it ended. What was the plot? I really don't understand. Maybe it doesn't lend itself to audio, but I have no idea what I just listened to or why.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Mollie
  • United States
  • 04-02-15

Almost, but not quite

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

The book is intended as a suspense work, so readers who like suspense may enjoy it.

What was most disappointing about Ruth Rendell’s story?

So much tension was built up, but the ending was anti-climatic.

What about Ric Jerrom’s performance did you like?

Solid read

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Disappointment.

Any additional comments?

I first saw this book on the shelves of a store in Australia. I read the book jacket, and it promised to be engaging. Right from the start of the work, the reader knows who is killed, who did it, and why. But, it's not until sixty years later that the bodies are discovered and the crime investigated. That worked. What did not work was 70 something year sleuths and their crimes of passion that bordered on the ridiculous.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

There is no mystery

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

Someone who is interested in character development, but not mystery

Would you ever listen to anything by Ruth Rendell again?

Yes; I usually enjoy her writing.

What does Ric Jerrom bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

I would have preferred to read it.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Disappointment. There are no twists and turns. No particular plot points that her further character development contributes to the mystery.

Any additional comments?

I really disliked this book. I'm sorry I wasted the time and the credit on it

2 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Interesting characters and good listen

Would you listen to The Girl Next Door again? Why?

Thought the overall story was interesting and the character development paid off towards the end of the book.

0 of 2 people found this review helpful