Ruth Rendell 1930–
English mystery novelist and short story writer.
Since the publication of her first novel, From Doon with Death, in 1964, Rendell has become one of England's most popular mystery writers. Her work features Reginald Wexford, a Scotland Yard inspector who solves homicide cases by revealing in his suspects the emotions and motivations usually overlooked by other detectives. Critics praise Rendell's realistic portrayal of Wexford, who, in each novel, is allowed to change and to grow as a human being. Her accounts of Wexford's private life are considered refreshing and entertaining subplots.
Rendell has also written several novels outside the traditional mystery genre. In such works as The Face of Trespass (1974) and A Demon in My View (1976), she combines elements of the crime novel with insightful character studies. For example, the latter is a psychological thriller about a mentally disturbed man who "strangles" store mannequins in order to repress his homicidal tendencies.
(See also Contemporary Authors, Vol. 109.)