A stranger lures a child into his car with the promise of sweets. A young man spots his fiancÉe’s double in a public park of ill repute. An executive visits the secluded home of a former employee whose intentions are frightfully unclear. A modest soul weds the woman he rescues from suicide—only to fall victim to an unfathomable form of possessiveness...
In the eleven tales gathered in The Fallen Curtain , Ruth Rendell—the grande dame of the literary mystery—lays bare the twisted inner workings of the unbalanced mind. Here are eleven tales of haunting psychological accuracy: the gesture that betrays a parent's madness, the childhood memory clouded with denial, the utterance that introduces the threat of violence in a situation as benign as a dinner date. Instantly engaging, maddeningly addictive, The Fallen Curtain testifies to the enduring talents of a master of the genre.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
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|Title of eBook: The Fallen Curtain|
|Release Date: 07-01-2009|
|Allowed Countries (hover)|
|Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group|
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The Fallen Curtain
The Fallen Curtain
The incident happened in the spring after his sixth birthday. His mother always referred to it as "that dreadful evening," and always is no exaggeration. She talked about it a lot, especially when he did well at anything, which was often, as he was good at school and at passing exams.
Showing her friends his swimming certificate or the prize he won for being top at geography: "When I think we might have lost Richard that dreadful evening! You have to believe there's Someone watching over us, don't you?" Clasping him in her arms: "He might have been killed—or worse." (A remarkable statement, this one.) "It doesn't bear thinking about."
Apparently it bore talking about. "If I'd told him once, I'd told him fifty times never to talk to strangers or get into cars. But boys will be boys, and he forgot all that when the time came. He was given sweets, of course, and lured into this car." Whispers at this point, meaning glances in his direction. "Threats and suggestions—persuaded into goodness knows what—I'll never know how we got him back alive."
What Richard couldn't understand was how his mother knew so much about it. She hadn't been there. Only he and the Man had been there, and he couldn't remember a thing about it. A curtain had fallen over that bit of his memory that held the details of that dreadful evening. He remembered only what had come immediately before it and immediately after.
They were living then in the South London suburb of Upfield, in a little terraced house in Petunia Street, he and his mother and his father. His mother had been over forty wh